The city of Atlanta is considering establishing a mandatory recycling program for businesses in an effort to reduce its solid waste stream by 25 percent.

Business establishments – from retail outlets to restaurants – currently are not required to recycle under city law. Yet many of these businesses generate an excessive amount of solid waste which ends up in the city’s private privately operated landfills. Businesses annually generate up to 40 percent of the total municipal solid waste.

The Atlanta City Council on Nov. 5 formed a task force to recommend to the mayor and the council whether businesses within the city should be required to submit a recycling plan as part of their business license application.

The city is required by the Georgia Comprehensive Solid Waste Management Act of 1990 to reduce 25 percent of its waste stream. While the city does have a residential waste recycling program, it has not reached the overall mandated 25 percent reduction goal.

Officials say a mandatory recycling program with businesses would help the city meet its recycling goal of reducing the amount of solid waste being introduced into the waste stream by 25 percent.

The Business Recycling Program Waste Task Force would be established for a period of nine months and would consist of representatives of the Georgia Restaurant Association, Georgia Hotel & Lodging Association, Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau, a recycling industry service delivery specialist, representative from the solid waste industry, representative of Keep Atlanta Beautiful board, a representative of the Atlanta Planning and Advisory Board (APAB), along with one representative each for the mayor, City Council president, City Utilities Committee, Department of Public Works, city attorney and three members appointed by the paired City Council districts.

On another matter, the City Council approved awarding a $41.6 million contract to Motorola, Inc. for the purchased of a new digital P25 radio communications system. The cost includes the system’s hardware and software components, development of sites, testing, installation, consulting and contingency fees.

The is in the process of upgrading the current public safety communications system from an analog system to a digital P25 radio communications system. The current analog “SmartNet” 800MHz system was built in 1995 and reportedly has reached the end of its life span.

Administration officials say the project is being implemented in conjunction with the sale of City Hall East and the relocation of the 911 Center to 180 Peachtree Street. The current analog system cannot be moved to the new location.

Atlanta will lease/purchase the new digital P25 radio communications system over a period of 10 years.

–John Schaffner