By Michelle Wiseman
City of Atlanta Office of Resilience

The City of Atlanta is on the rise. As a top-tier city and consistently ranked among the most desirable places to live, Atlanta continues to grow and evolve. Everywhere you go, new buildings are coming up, especially multi-family complexes. People want to live inside the perimeter with easy access to transit, fresh food and more sustainable living. Over half of the City’s residents live in multi-family units, and this is where growth is projected for years to come.

The City of Atlanta’s multi-family residents will be getting a little greener thanks to the enforcement of an ordinance requiring that all 6+ unit multi-family buildings offer recycling services to their residents. Multi-family properties around the City are now being required to set up separate recycling service for their residents.

Starting a new recycling program sounds pretty easy, but it’s not as simple as putting a few blue recycling bins out near the current trash dumpsters. Awareness and education are key. For example, multi-family recycling initiatives should include a clearly identified recycling area with labeling to explain what items can and can’t be recycled. Designate an internal recycling ambassador to encourage 100 percent participation in the complex’s recycling program.

Recycling right is critical. Initially focus on the basics; flattened boxes, paper, cans, bottles, and plastic containers. Please no plastic bags, no food items & no Styrofoam. Plastic bags are the number one contaminant. They pose a special problem at the recycling center by getting caught in machinery. Please return plastic bags to retailers or CHaRM -the Center for Hard to Recycle Materials (“CHaRM”), located at 1110 Hill Street, SE.

Please note that while the City of Atlanta residential curbside program accepts glass for recycling, most multi-family buildings in Atlanta do not accept glass as they are serviced by private commercial haulers. However, glass is accepted at CHaRM. Several private entities will be expanding into Atlanta for glass collection by spring of 2018.

Recycling is on the rise in Atlanta, but we need every citizen to be engaged to meet our goal of 90 percent waste diversion by 2020.

Please reach out to me at if you want more information or to get involved or register your building at

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.