Pay As You Throw Garbage Service

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Pay As You Throw"Pay-As-You-Throw"

To meet state requirements to reduce landfill deposits, the City of Decatur instituted the "Pay-as-You-Throw" system in 1997 to complement the City's existing recycling program.

Under the Pay-As-You-Throw system:
  • Residents pay an annual fee for collection of garbage and trash and collection and disposal of yard trimmings, furniture, most appliances and recyclables, and for street sweeping
  • Residents purchase special plastic bags from local supermarkets, hardware stores and other local suppliers to use for disposing of garbage. The cost of disposal is included in the cost of the bag. Bags are available in 8, 15 and 30-gallon sizes
  • Garbage and trash will only be collected if in the special bags. Special bags are collected from the rear or side yard
  • Yard trimmings, recyclables, furniture and appliances will continue to be collected from the curb. Reminder: A $50 collection and disposal fee is charged to remove appliances using Freon
  • Business operators pay fees based on the size of their commercial container and the number of service visits each week

Thus, the cost for sanitation services depends on volume of garbage and trash collected. Residents who use fewer bags pay less; residents who use more bags pay more. Businesses who use larger commercial containers that are serviced more frequently pay more.

Answers to frequently asked questions

  • A task force made up of Decatur residents who studied the issues recommended the "Pay as You Throw" program, gathered information about other types of systems, held public hearings, and made a recommendation based on their findings to the City Commission
  • The program complements the existing recycling program
  • Residents will continue to use paper bags for lawn trimmings
  • Pay As You Throw affects garbage only
  • Residents purchase special plastic bags from supermarkets, hardware stores, and other local suppliers. The plastic bags are blue, yellow or green and have the City of Decatur logo on them
  • Bags come in three sizes, 33 gallon (blue bag), 15 gallon (yellow bag), and 8 gallon (green bag) and have drawstring closures so they can be opened and closed
  • Residents should put their garbage inside the plastic bags and place them in their outdoor garbage containers
  • Sanitation workers collect these bags from the rear or side yard as they do now. Only special bags will be collected. Residents who recycle more and use fewer bags save money because they have to purchase fewer bags
  • Businesses pay fees based on the size of their commercial containers and how many times containers are emptied each week
  • Task force members, the sanitation director, and the city manager are available to come and talk to interested garden clubs or civic organizations about this new system
  • The Pay As You Throw system was implemented in July 1998
  • The program is an effort to meet state requirements to reduce landfill deposits
  • All garbage and yard trimmings collected by City Sanitation workers is deposited at the DeKalb County Seminole Road Landfill located at 4203 Clevemont Road, Ellenwood, Georgia 30294. For more information about the DeKalb County landfill please visit their website

Contact the Sanitation Department, 404-377-5571, or, if you have further questions.