The Athens-Clarke County Recycling Division has been recognized for our innovative programming in the best possible way – money!
The Foodservice Packaging Institute (FPI) and Coca-Cola North America contributed a combined $16,700 of cash and in-kind services to promote recycling and reduce contamination in Athens-Clarke County.
“This is huge,” said Joe Dunlop, waste reduction administrator for ACC Solid Waste Department. “This assistance will go a long way to reducing contamination in our recycling, and encourage residents and businesses to recycle as much material as possible.”
FPI’s focus is to promote the recyclability of clean, empty paper containers – specifically, the all-American paper cup. Long banned from recycling programs, including here in Athens, the lowly paper cup can now be included in our mixed recycling collection program. Paper mills have evolved to be able to handle the small amount of plastic liner (plastic, not wax) in paper cups.
Coca-Cola is eager to promote the recyclability of its products, specifically plastic soda and water bottles, and of course aluminum cans. Here in Athens, these specific items typically find their way through local channels into products that are sold worldwide.
“Paper cups get turned into cardboard boxes, and I think everyone has seen more cardboard boxes these days, so there is increased demand for paper fiber,” Dunlop said. “Plastic Coke bottles go to northwest Georgia to get turned into carpet, and aluminum cans get melted in nearby Greene County, where Novelis Aluminum sells the metal to companies like Ford Motor Company to go into new pickup trucks.
“When you recycle your containers and paper, you are diverting your scrap from our landfill, and instead sending it to domestic manufacturers who need the raw material,” Dunlop added.
The funding will be used to wrap ACC Solid Waste collection vehicles with a recycling message encouraging customers to include clean, empty containers in their recycling. Look for additional media outreach in coming months, from ACC Recycling Division and our program partners.
Joe Dunlop is the ACC Waste Reduction Administrator. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.