Author: Valerie Winrow, Director of Environment, Social Responsibility & Governance Engagement, City of Atlanta
In celebration of America Recycles Day held on November 15th, the City of Atlanta announced the launch of “Clean Streets,” a recycling program created by the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, the Department of Public Works and the Keep Atlanta Beautiful Commission to properly dispose of cigarette waste in Downtown Atlanta and promote the city’s zero waste goals. In partnership with the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District (ADID) and TerraCycle – an organization which partners with municipalities to bring recycling solutions, the City of Atlanta has installed fifty cigarette butt and ash receptacles in highly-traveled sidewalk areas throughout Downtown Atlanta.
“Today, Atlanta joins a number of cities in the United States committed to keeping the number one littered item in the world off the local streets and out of landfills,” said Richard Mendoza, Commissioner of the Department of Public Works. We are delighted to champion this effort towards litter reduction. It is our hope that with the success of the program in Downtown, we will be able to install additional cigarette disposal receptacles in other high traffic areas of the city.”
All cigarette waste collected in the “Clean Streets” program will be sent to TerraCycle. TerraCycle will then donate $1 for every pound of cigarette butts recycled to the Keep America Beautiful Commission to fund and administer litter prevention programs.
“As a major destination for Atlanta residents and visitors, we are excited to launch this important recycling program in partnership with the City of Atlanta,” said A. J. Robinson, President of Central Atlanta Progress and the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District. “The new receptacles will be installed at transition points where cigarette butt littering occurs frequently in Downtown, such as outside retail stores, restaurants, bars, hotels, office buildings, parking lots and bus shelters.”
To ensure that the “Clean Streets” program becomes an integral part of the city’s ongoing litter reduction activities, ADID and the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability will provide public education and outreach, and ensure the long-term maintenance of the receptacles. Thanks to the Zoo Atlanta, Reko, a yellow-naped Amazon parrot, is helping in this effort.
“We are proud to partner with the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District and TerraCycle,” said Stephanie Benfield, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability. “Our goal is to take the litter off our streets and make it a valuable end-use commodity through a public-private partnership with TerraCycle, and educate residents and visitors about littering with ADID.”
In 2011, the City of Atlanta became a Zero Waste Zone and committed to new projects and policy initiatives which promote sustainability practices, including climate protection, energy reduction and clean water initiatives.
Read more article in the RECYCLE newspaper.