About the Recycling Division

Athens-Clarke County became Georgia’s first municipally operated curbside recycling program when it began in 1988. All private carriers are also required to offer recycling to their customers.


Our mission in the Athens-Clarke County Recycling Division is to educate the public about the importance of waste reduction to the Athens-Clarke County community and implement a comprehensive, waste reduction plan that will reduce landfill disposal of solid waste as follows:

  • 40% by 2015   --  Goal Achieved @ 45% Diversion Rate in 2015
  • 60% by 2018   --  We need your help! Dropped to 38% Diversion in 2017 Rethink materials, Reduce consumption, Reuse products, Recycle right!
  • 75% by 2020

The Mayor and Commission approved the Waste Diversion Goals on November 3, 2010.


1995Material Recovery Facility OpenedRecovered Materials Processing Facility opens, a public-private partnership to sort
common recyclable materials (bottles, cans, paper, cardboard, etc.)
1995Started Pay-As-You-Throw system

Pay-As-You-Throw (PAYT) is a usage-pricing model for disposing of municipal solid waste. Athens solid waste service providers (both public and private) must provide three different trash container sizes with appropriate rate differential between each level of service provided.

2007Government Property RecyclingMayor and Commission approved a recycling policy for all Athens-Clarke County properties (Policy SW-021). This policy requires that all events held by Athens-Clarke County or held on county property must provide the opportunity for recycling.
2009Solid Waste Task Force formedSolid Waste Task Force forms, recommends Commercial Recycling Ordinance and Policy
2010Waste Reduction Goals40% by 2015, 60% by 2018, 75% by 2020
2011Switched from dual stream to single streamProcessing Facility switches to single-stream (mixed)
processing. ACC pays $1.2 million for conversion.
ACC now owns RMPF.
2012Commercial Recycling OrdinanceEvery business in Athens-Clarke County must have an approved recycling plan on file with ACC Solid Waste Department, Recycling Division. Commercial Recycling Ordinance and Policy passes,
position created and filled
2015CHaRM openedCenter for Hard to Recycle Materials (CHaRM) opens
2015Introduced automated system
2017Republic Service purchases ReCommunityRepublic Services purchases ReCommunity and takes
over operations at RMPF
2018Incentivized switching to aluminum vs. glassBegan Glass Reduction Program
2019Compost Collection programTakes over commercial compost collection from Let Us Compost
2019SPLOST proposalSeeking SPLOST funding for new processing
facility; exploring replacement
Waste Minimization Fee
2019Compost Drop-off Program

Began offering compostable material drop-off at the Administration building, CHaRM, landfill, Athens Farmer’s Market and Cooperative Extension