Glass Recycling Information

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Separated glass collection services begin July 1, 2016.

New rules set by recycling facilities dictate that glass must be collected separately from other recyclables. Decatur residents will need two bins – one bin for glass only, and one for paper, plastics and metal. Residents are responsible for providing the second bin, and there are no stipulations regarding type or color, though it should be 18 gallons or smaller.

Please remember:

  • Your glass will likely be picked up at a different time than your other recyclables. If you see that your mixed recycling has been collected, this does not mean that your glass collection was missed.
  • Have all trash, yard waste, and recycling placed at the curb by 7:30 am.
  • Remove all lids and tops from glass containers and place them in your mixed recycling bin.
  • Do not place any recyclables in plastic bags.
  • Mixed recycling that contains glass cannot be collected.


Why Did We Decide to Move Our Glass?

With new glass recycling rules set by recycling facilities, Decatur public works staff has explored recycling options and gathered feedback from the community. All options, including sending glass to the landfill, involved an increase in the cost for providing recycling. Approximately 20% of the current recycling stream is glass. Adding the additional weight from glass into the waste stream would increase landfill disposal fees and other costs associated with refuse collection. 

Although many other communities eliminated glass entirely from their recycling programs, Decatur has traditionally set a higher standard for environmental sustainability. An online survey developed with the assistance of the Environmental Sustainability Advisory Board collected more than 630 responses on this issue. More than 90% of respondents indicated they were willing to pay an additional $25 to $35 per year to continue curbside glass recycling services. And more than 78% of the respondents were willing to provide their own bins for separating glass to be recycled. 

 Glass Survey-Question 1 Chart


Glass Recycling in the News


 11Alive News-  Glass is No Longer Green

  April 5, 2016




Atlanta Journal Constitution

 Decatur Minute Blog



Frequently Asked Questions About Glass Recycling

Why do recycling facilities no longer want glass mixed in with other materials?
While a co-mingled recycling collection program provides many benefits, it has contributed to a system of poorly sorted recovered materials, with pieces of glass, plastic and metal being delivered in bales of fiber; the wrong types of fiber going to paper mills; and, plastics, glass, and other materials being delivered to incorrect product manufacturers. 

How does this affect City of Decatur residents?
Residents will need to place glass in a separate bin for curbside pickup on their regular collection days. These bins should be 18 gal. or smaller, but any type or color is acceptable. 

All other recyclable materials can continue to be placed together in a separate bin.  

The annual sanitation fee for the new fiscal year (2016-2017) increased from $250 to $275 to cover the cost for separated glass collection services. Residents will see an adjustment of $25 on the second property tax installment bill sent later this year. 

Will the glass collected actually be recycled?
Yes. The glass collected from the separated residential curbside program will be sent to a recovery facility called Strategic Materials. They are a processor for recycled glass used in a wide array of products such as containers, fiberglass insulation, and countertops

Did the city consider a drop-off location?

Suitable land to use as a drop-off location is not currently available within the city limits. 

I still have my old red glass-only recycling bin. Can I use that instead of getting a new bin?

Yes, we encourage you to use those bins if you have them. If you do not have a bin, you must provide your own separate bin to place at the curb on your regular collection day. The bin should be 18 gallons or smaller, but any type or color is acceptable.