Commercial Recycling

Every business in Athens-Clarke County must recycle and have an approved recycling plan on file with ACC Solid Waste Department, Recycling Division.

Requirements of Ordinance Sec. 5-2-14 (i)

There are four core requirements for businesses and non-profit organizations licensed in Athens-Clarke County:

  1. Provide collection for all recyclable material generated on the property. 
    All commercial customers within ACC shall provide recycling containers to collect all items listed on the Targeted Materials List that are generated by the commercial customer.
  2. Provide recycling education for staff and customers/tenants. 
    All commercial customers within ACC shall provide recycling information and guidelines to their employees and/or tenants; ACC Solid Waste Recycling Division information can be used. Note: Owners of multi-family properties shall distribute to new tenants at the beginning of the lease and to all existing tenants at least annually, general recycling program information and current recycling program guidelines as updated and provided by the ACC Solid Waste Department.
  3. Submit a Commercial Recycling Plan Form
    Each commercial customer within ACC shall complete and have on file with ACC Solid Waste Recycling Division a Commercial Customer Recycling Plan. If your business is not a stand-alone structure, it may be appropriate to discuss this requirement with the property owner/manager. Generally, the entity paying for waste collection services should be involved in any discussion of adding recycling collection services. However, each business must complete and file a Recycling Plan.
  4. Site visit by the Commercial Recycling Specialist to verify compliance.
    Once your Commercial Recycling Plan is received, the Commercial Recycling Specialist will contact you to set up a time that is convenient for you for a site visit. This visit is typically 15-30 minutes depending on the size of your business. This is a great opportunity to learn more about your waste stream and see if there is opportunity to recycle better and often more.


Businesses run strictly from a primary residence are exempt from this ordinance. Also, multi-family dwellings of four or less units are exempt.

What to recycle?

Every business and non-profit must make a concerted effort to recycle the items listed on the Targeted Materials List, basically hard plastic containers and bottles, printed paper, cardboard, metal cans, and glass bottles and jars.

Already recycling? 

Then becoming compliant is easy. Just complete a Commercial Recycling Plan here: Once your Commercial Recycling Plan is received, the Commercial Recycling Specialist will contact you to set up a time that is convenient for you for a site visit. 

How do I get started?

  1. Contact your trash hauler to add recycling service.
    Under existing ordinance, all waste haulers operating in ACC are required to offer collection of recyclable material, and while their rates vary, some haulers include recycling service in their regular collection rates. ACC Recycling Division can assist with estimating the amount of collection service needed by individual organizations.
  2. Educate your customers, staff and/or tenants.
    ACC Recycling Division staff can provide educational material such as posters and stickers as well as staff training.
  3. Add recycling collection bins.
    Basically, you will need a recycling bin for every trash bin. This can be adjusted as your program grows. You may find that you need more recycling than trash. Be sure to place trash and recycling side-by-side and that they are clearly labeled. ACC Recycling Division does have a limited supply of previously loved recycling bins available for business and organizations free of charge. To request bins, flyers or stickers please complete this form.

Additional Resources

Check out our Resources page for more assistance in getting started. This page includes industry specific guides, tenant letters and recycling reminder posters.

For questions and additional information, including on-site technical assistance, educational material and tours of the ACC Recycling Processing Facility, contact the ACC Commercial Recycling Specialist.