How to reduce, reuse and recycle in the Good Life City

There are only two major recycling sites in Albany. One on Meredyth and one behind the Albany Civic Center.
Published: Mar. 9, 2023 at 5:30 PM EST
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Keep Albany Dougherty Beautiful staff is asking The Good Life City to reduce, reuse and recycle.

There are only two major recycling sites in Albany. One on Meredyth Drive and one behind the Albany Civic Center. But Albany leaders said people shouldn’t let that stop them from helping to save the environment.

Keep Albany Dougherty Beautiful Executive Director Jwana Washington said those that do recycle are a dedicated bunch.

“Because the citizens understand the benefits of recycling and it saves landfill space, it helps conserve our natural resources,” Washington said. “And it reduces the cost of production of many materials. If glass, for instance, is recycled, it is put back on the market within a matter of thirty days.”

Major cities like Atlanta often have curbside recycling. Leaders still want to encourage people to recycle but said curbside pickup is not realistic for this community.

“We’ve done studies,” Washington said. “And we just don’t have the support needed in order to, or the financial means in order to put a recycle bin at every home. It’s just not feasible financially for us.”

Keep Albany Dougherty Beautiful does a lot to also educate the community on the dangers of littering.

And when it comes to recycling donations, a variety of things are accepted.

“We take aluminum, we take glass, we take newspapers, cardboard. Anything that they can separate and bring to those areas,” Stacey Rowe, public works utility operations director, said. “It helps keep it from going to the landfill. But we do ask that people separate their recyclables. We don’t take garbage. Cause then it’s mingled and contaminated. And then the recyclers will not take it either.”

Despite the potential room for improvement when it comes to recycling, Washington said Albany is still setting the example for other communities.

“I think that our surrounding communities don’t have any type of recycling things going on,” she said. “Because we do have people from other communities that call us to see if they can bring their recyclables here.”

Dougherty County will also soon be getting rid of its roll-off dumpsters.

The roll-off containers initially started at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. But leaders said they’re no longer needed.

“Everyone was working at home. Staying in place,” Rowe said. “And they started cleaning out their garages, cleaning up the yards, producing an enormous amount of debris. So we put seven roll-off containers throughout the city to give people the opportunity to take this debris somewhere to put it free of charge.”

But since people have gone back to work, those containers are no longer needed.

“It’s really becoming a pretty big maintenance issue because a lot of people will not put the debris in the containers,” Rowe said. “They just kind of pull up and throw it out. And so we are starting to receive a lot of complaints from the community that these are set out because of so much debris and stuff being scattered even though we police these areas daily.”

Rowe said public works have also gotten complaints of people going through the debris at night time and eventually scattering it throughout neighborhoods.

But how people throw away their trash won’t change all that much.

“People will still be able to put debris out to their normal collection site next to their garbage can,” Rowe said. “It will be picked up. That’s part of the service provided for our residents. And building materials up to three cubic yards can be picked up free of charge as well.”

Only six of the seven sites will be removed. The one on Meredith Drive at the recycling center will remain.

March 12 is the last day that they’ll be out in the community.

If people have recyclable materials, they can donate those in the recycling bins instead of the roll-off dumpsters.

If people still would like to use roll-off dumpsters, Rowe said they’re available for rent.