Welcome to the Georgia Department of Community Affairs

Georgia Recycling Options


Your local government recycling and solid waste coordinator should be knowledgeable about the recycling collection points nearest you. The local Yellow Pages may include recycling centers under the heading “recycling” or “scrap metals” or other materials. Keep America Beautiful (KAB) has about 60 affiliates across Georgia which are supported by Keep Georgia Beautiful, headquartered at DCA. Many of the KAB affiliates sponsor recycling programs. Information on the affiliates can be accessed by linking to Keep Georgia Beautiful. Presented below are opportunities for individuals to bring certain materials to collection points at nearby merchants. Remember that these stores are more likely to support collection if you patronize them, too.

Aside from certain grocery stores, schools and fire stations may participate in aluminum can collection. The proceeds may, for example, be donated to programs to aid burn victims or to pay for something special at a school. More...

The Salvation Army, Goodwill, the Kidney Foundation, the City of Atlanta Bureau of Cultural Affairs’ Materials for the Arts Program (phone 404-853-3272), and other thrift operations will accept donations of these and other items if they are still of decent quality. Pickup can be arranged, and donations may be tax deductible. Check the yellow pages for the nearest store. Otherwise, see if a local church, school, charity, swap operation, or acquaintance can make use of the surplus item. Another option for apparel is textile recyclers. There are a few listed in the directory that collect materials and either export them to third world countries or sell them as rags.

Individuals (and corporations, too) can donate unwanted vehicles to the National Kidney Foundation of Georgia (NKFG). As soon as the paperwork is complete, NKFG coordinates a convenient time to pick up the vehicle, free of charge. The vehicle is sold at an auto auction and NKFG uses the funds to fight kidney disease. The donor receives a deed of gift and a thank you letter. Donors may qualify for a tax deduction. For more information about KIDNEY CARS, call (770) 452-1539, ext. 18, or outside metro Atlanta, call 1-800-633-2339.

There are no household battery recyclers in the state. However, there is a recycler in Tampa, Florida, called Quicksilver Environmental. They will accept all household batteries; the generator pays the shipping and handling. For more information, call 800-376-7888. Rechargeable batteries can be recycled at many local retailers. For more information call the Portable Rechargeable Battery Association at (404) 412-8826 or 800-8-BATTERY.

Stores that stock or repair lead-acid batteries will usually accept your battery. Heavy for their size and potentially dangerous to handle, lead-acid batteries pose an environmental threat due to their acid and lead content and are banned from many solid waste collection programs and all municipal solid waste landfills.

Find out information on recycling your used electronic equipment from your home or business.

Most often used as a packaging material to protect merchandise, individuals encounter old corrugated cardboard (OCC) in box form. OCC is evident by studying box edges for two or more liners sandwiching a corrugated medium. Some commercial establishments that bale OCC, such as grocery stores, may accept OCC scraps if they are brought to the storage area and instructions are followed precisely.

Inquire at your local dry-cleaners for return of bags and hangers.

The Gift of Sight is an eyeglass recycling program sponsored by Lenscrafters and Lions Club International to provide free eyecare and used glasses to needy people throughout the world. For more information, call 800-541-LENS.

Most local government recycling programs have added glass (clear, green, and brown) to their curbside or drop-off programs. Almost every market for glass requires that it be separated by color. Glass typically not accepted in residential recycling programs include window panes, ceramics, light bulbs, ovenware, mirrors, crystal, or fiberglass. Contact your local recycling coordinator for more information.

Many grocery stores permit return of the same plastic or paper grocery bags used in their check-out lines. Another option is to bring your own canvas or net bag for shopping. That way, you do not have to worry about disposing of or recycling an unwanted plastic bag.

It is becoming more common to find drop-off containers for magazines (next to newspaper collection bins) at schools, churches, and other similar institutions. In addition, many communities have added magazines to their curbside and drop-off programs.

Many grocery stores permit return of these plastic bottles and many local governments include them in their recycling program. Be sure to rinse these well and remove the lids before recycling.

Some local government recycling programs have added mixed paper to their curbside or drop-off program. Contact your local recycling coordinator for more information.

Many oil change stations and retailers that sell these products will accept used motor oil or antifreeze (or coolant) from “do-it-yourselfers”. You cannot recycle used oil if it has been mixed with used antifreeze. Some places may charge a small fee to accept oil or antifreeze, or at least ask you to purchase supplies there. Also, check with your local government. Many offer residents the option of disposing their used oil at a drop off location in their community. Motor oil and coolants are two important materials to recycle from your household because of their high toxicity and potential for contamination. For example, one gallon of motor oil has the potential to spoil one million gallons of water! Please remember to properly dispose or recycle these two items instead of dumping them in the ground; they are usually banned from solid waste collection programs.

It is common to find drop-off containers for old newspaper (ONP) at schools, churches, and other similar institutions. Proceeds from these collections often benefit the host. Many grocery stores in Georgia have newspaper collection bins in the parking lot.

The City of Atlanta Bureau of Cultural Affairs’ Materials for the Arts Program (404-853-3272) receives and directs surplus, unwanted, or depreciated goods of decent quality to non-profit arts organizations, individual artists, and social service and educational groups offering arts programs. This includes hundreds of items in acceptable condition, including paint, clay, canvas, tools, furniture, and office equipment. Pickup service is free (in Atlanta); donations may be tax deductible. Also contact local school or theater groups about donating extra paint and supplies.

Typically used to protect shipping objects. The commonly known “foam peanuts,” if not reused or given to a nearby merchandiser, can be returned to Mail Boxes, Etc. and 3,400 other shipping stores that participate in the nationwide collection program. Call the toll free hotline 800-828-2214 for the nearest location. Other types of polystyrene (e.g. cups and plates) are being collected for recycling in some local government recycling programs. Contact your local recycling coordinator for more information. Last, there are polystyrene recyclers located in Georgia. See listings for more information.

Discarded motor vehicle tires can be returned, for a fee, to tire retailers. Tires are also being collected in some local government recycling programs. Contact your local recycling coordinator for more information. Banned from landfills unless shredded, scrap tires that are illegally dumped become breeding vessels for mosquitoes and other pests.

The Steel Can Recycling Information System (800-YES-1-CAN) will provide the nearest collection point for steel cans in your area. Otherwise, ask nearby ferrous metal collectors in this directory if they accept steel cans, lids and closures. Also, many local governments accept steel cans in their recycling program. Contact your local recycling coordinator for more information.

Toner cartridges for laser printers, plain paper fax machines, and certain copy machines can be sold to recyclers. Check this directory and the Yellow Pages or see if the cartridge manufacturer you are currently buying from will accept returns.

DCA, your local recycling coordinator, your local KAB Affiliate, local government public works department, or Cooperative Extension Agent has information on composting your yard trimmings and organic scraps at home. Effective September 1, 1996, all yard trimmings were banned from lined municipal solid waste landfills. As a result, many communities have established chipping/mulching programs for local residents. Contact your local recycling coordinator for more details.

Downloads & Related Links

Tips on Computer and Electronics Recycling (PDF)

Recycling Markets Directory

Contact Information

Georgia Department of Community Affairs
60 Executive Park South, N.E.
Atlanta, Georgia 30329-2231