Atlanta hosting massive recycling event Saturday

The thing about junk is that you can never seem to get rid of it. The more you dump, the more you collect, an even larger issue now as electronics, technology and gadgetry accumulate in households.

The city of Atlanta is trying to help. The city will host its largest recycling event of the year — ecoDepot — Saturday morning at Turner Field. In the past, the annual event has collected up to 60,000 pounds of old electronic items, hazardous household waste and cooking grease.

“When we first started, I didn’t realize it would be on-going. I thought people would clean out their basements (once) and we’d be done,” said Atlanta City Council member Carla Smith, who started the program in 2004 and is hosting this year’s event along with with the departments of Watershed Management and Public Works. “But our numbers got bigger and bigger and we realized we are becoming an electronic throw-away nation.

“Electronics are advancing and we all want the newest gadgets.”

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Americans annually generate about 1.6 million tons of household hazardous waste.

“And because you had no way of getting rid of it, it would just pile up in people’s houses,” said Mark Daniels.

For about a decade now, Daniels has led collection events in his Boulevard Height neighborhood, often delivering his haul to Smith’s efforts. In the old days, when flat-screen televisions became vogue, Daniels said he would collect “mountains” of old big-screen televisions.

Now, he finds an abundance of computers, printers and old appliances.

“It is usually around Earth Day when we have a neighborhood work and clean-up day, to collect material and turn it over to Turner Field,” Daniels said. “It is a never-ending job to keep the neighborhood clean.”

The ecoDepot will run from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. in the Orange Lot at Turner Field. Most common household and electronic items will be accepted, with the exception vacuum cleaners, refrigerators, washers, dryers, freezers, de-humidifiers, humidifiers, gas-powered equipment, tires, household trash and non-electronic equipment.

“I remember when I started, I had to explain what e-waste was to people. Now people know what it is and I rarely have to explain it,” Smith said. “Now, it is almost common knowledge.”

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