The city of Atlanta discontinued the use of a private vendor to collect garbage, yard trimmings and recycling and began collecting its own recyclables July 7, a measure that will save a projected $3 million in the 2009 solid waste budget.

“We have continued to explore opportunities for increased efficiency within our solid waste collection and have successfully reorganized our routes and crews to continue providing weekly collection of garbage, yard trimmings and recycling,” Public Works Commissioner Joe Basista said. “Our customers will continue to have their recycling collected on the same day as their household garbage and yard trimmings.”

He said the plan is to increase the percentage of recycling in Atlanta. The program has been expanded to include the collection of cardboard. This new service will allow cardboard to be picked up as part of the recycling collection, as long as it is broken down and dry. Residents may continue using their existing recycling containers or a larger container with a lid clearly labeled “Recycling.”

Initially, unsorted recyclables will be collected in compaction vehicles, which look similar to vehicles collecting garbage and yard trimmings.

The city will collect all paper, glass, aluminum/tin cans, cardboard and household plastics (except for bubble wrap, plastic wrap and heavy-duty plastics such as lawn furniture).