Georgia has per capita commodity based goals for municipal solid waste (MSW) reduction that extend through 2017 (see attached). These goals for common recyclables were developed by the Office of Environmental Management of the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, along with recycling industry stakeholders representing businesses operating in Georgia. With the potential diversion of 20-25% organics (yard trimmings/food residuals) from landfills coupled with the projected goals, Georgia has the opportunity to achieve close to 50% reduction in the near future bringing it on par with other progressive states in the US.
Georgia is known nationally for having the 2nd largest end use market infrastructure in the nation and the largest in the southeast US; this means recycled glass, aluminum cans, plastic bottles, newspaper, magazines, organics, carpet, and more are used in manufacturing new products in our state. A 2010 study by the Southeast Recycling Development Council (serdc.org) found that Georgia has 31 manufacturers using recycled glass, plastic, aluminum and paper; they comprise $4.5 billion in annual sales and employ more than 7000 Georgians. This study accounts for only those markets available for commonly recycled residential curbside commodities and does not include additional Georgia markets for recovered rubber, organics, carpet and much more.
The state has successfully increased capacity for economical logistics via recycling transfer hubs, and private industry continues to invest in processing facilities to handle a growing volume of recoverable materials. Georgia’s waste reduction and recycling industry is a leader in the U.S., placing us in the national spotlight for our achievements. Private industry and national recycling associations have acknowledged the potential for increased growth in our state and have made significant investments. Foundations and other grants providers have recognized the value of Georgia’s leadership in this area and have been generous; awards have been bestowed, and the industry media frequently features our state programs in their publications. Gaining this edge has been possible via public, private, non-profit partnerships and working toward realistic goals. Check Georgia Trend article-Recycling Revolution-June 2008 issue.
Our industry faces challenges including low-priced landfill disposal fees, some lack of political will, public skepticism, and the lack of knowledge of disposal cost avoidance as the financial answer to implementing efficient programs. Acknowledging these issues, we maintain that recycling is the most effective way to avert climate change, save energy, conserve natural resources including water, and replenish our depleted soils all while creating more jobs. We work diligently with our 275 plus members and 75 Keep America Beautiful state affiliates to educate and incentivize the public; education campaigns require funding and local and state governments struggling to provide basic services have cut back on public education. The Keep Georgia Beautiful Foundation is currently administrating a $1.4 million recycling grant thanks to Coca-Cola Recycling LLC, and the City of Atlanta is experiencing increased recovery rates in a 14,000 home RE-CART incentive-based pilot program.
We agree that methane collection provides viable alternative energy programs as long as the “feedstocks” don’t negate a higher beneficial use of organic resources to accomplish those goals; and you are 100% correct that this should not be used, as it has been in Florida, in calculating recycling metrics. We invite you to visit our website or contact us to learn more about recycling in Georgia.www.georgiarecycles.orgFull Article