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Your county-by-county guide to recycling in metro Atlanta

With summer in full swing, more Atlantans are outside soaking up the weather at barbecues and other outdoor events. On each of these occasions, disposable cups, aluminum cans and more are used and then thrown into the trash. 

According to DoSomething.org, an estimated 75 percent of the American waste stream is recyclable, but we only recycle about 30 percent of it.

If you'd like to do your part and dive into recycling this summer, here's a rundown of each county's recycling outlets:

DeKalb County

If you visit DeKalb County's recycling resource page, you'll find a form that allows you to sign up for a single-stream recycling subscription and receive a 35-gallon roll cart for free. Single stream means that recyclables are sorted at the recycling center, so you don't have to pre-sort them ahead of time.

Items you can recycle:

  • Small and large cardboard boxes (flattened)
  • Frozen food containers (remove food liners and foil)
  • Tissue and paper towel cylinder cores (no tissue or paper towels)
  • Plastics 1-7 (this includes disposable plates, cups and soda and water bottles)
  • Aluminum cans

DeKalb has a separate glass recycling program that allows you to bring your glass items to a specific drop-off location and deposit the items in bins to be picked up and transferred for processing.

Gwinnett County

Gwinnett County also offers a single stream recycling program, featuring dedicated trucks that Gwinnett's solid waste haulers use for recycling only.

Items you can recycle:

  • Aluminum beverage and food containers and baking tins
  • Cardboard (flattened) and pizza boxes (no grease)
  • Paper grocery, shopping and lunch bags
  • Plastic 1-7
  • Paperboard including food boxes and beverage cartons

If you're having trouble finding a place to recycle other materials, Gwinnett has you covered with their Clean & Beautiful website. Just select the material you want to recycle from a dropdown menu; the site will provide you with the name of a recycling facility that handles that item. For example, if you're looking to recycle cooking oils, fats or greases, you can bring them to Southern Green Industries' Biofuel Drop Off on Frederick Drive in Atlanta.

Fulton County

Fulton County's website feature a long list of recyclers servicing Metro Atlanta for any resident who is looking to dispose of a particular item such as cans, cardboard or glass. The site also provides a link to Earth911 for more information about recycling.

Here are a few recycling locations around the county:

Sandy Springs Recycling Center

470 Morgan Falls Road, Sandy Springs. Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, 9:00 a.m to 5:00 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday, 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Items you can recycle:

  • Aluminum Cans
  • Cardboard
  • Glass bottles & jars (clean, food-grade only)
  • Plastic 1, 2 and 5
  • Plastic grocery bags
  • Shrink and bubble wrap
  • Steel and tin cans
  • Cooking fats, oils and grease

Keep Atlanta Beautiful Community Recycling

Buckhead: Second-Ponce de Leon Baptist Church, 2715 Peachtree RoadNE, Atlanta. First Saturday of the month, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Kirkwood.Edgewood: Coan Middle School, 1550 Hosea L Williams Drive NE, Atlanta. Second Saturday of the month, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Items you can recycle:

  • Glass
  • Styrofoam
  • Aluminum
  • Cans

Cobb County Cobb County offers a list of recycling resources through its Keep Cobb Beautiful initiative. For barbecue items, you may want to visit the following location:

WestRock Recycling 1775 County Services Pkwy., Marietta. Monday-Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Items you can recycle:

  • Cardboard
  • Cartons
  • Plastic containers
  • Aluminum
  • Tin cans
  • Glass jars & bottles

If WestRock isn't convenient, the county has several Drop Spots at local fire stations where you can leave most recyclable items (excluding glass).

No matter which county you live in, it's important to make sure that your recyclable items are clean and that you are bringing the right items to the right place.

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