The Recycling Partnership, a national nonprofit that applies corporate partner funding to improve curbside recycling systems in cities and towns across the country, is working with the City of Atlanta’s Office of Resilience and Department of Public Works to improve recycling in the city through the “Feet on the Street” public service and educational campaign.
“Feet on the Street” is a pilot program in Atlanta, targeting one route in each of the city’s four quadrants. The campaign includes targeted messaging and direct feedback. The ultimate goal of the program is to reduce contamination in the city’s residential recycling bins and increase the quantity and quality of materials recycled.
Residents will see direct mailings, newspaper ads, social media and signage throughout town about what does and does not belong in their recycling carts. Additionally, city employees will walk each of the targeted recycling routes to “tip and tag”—tipping the lids of recycling carts and tagging those with contaminants. Contaminated carts will receive an informational “oops” tag that highlights the contaminant within, and the cart’s recyclables will not be collected. The effort to educate residents about what is recyclable has proven to substantially reduce contaminants in other cities, which saves cities money and makes the recycling process more efficient.
“The City of Atlanta is working at the cutting edge of recycling, using specialized technology and smart collaborations to improve key aspects of service,” The Recycling Partnership CEO Keefe Harrison said in a statement. “We are proud to work with such a progressive partner, and applaud Atlanta for taking on this large issue that is affecting cities across the U.S.”
The street team will log contamination via smartphone app provided by Rubicon Global, an Atlanta based waste management company.
“When people put the wrong items in their recycling carts, handling those materials costs taxpayer dollars,” Michelle Wiseman of Atlanta’s Office of Resilience said in a statement. “We want to help our residents correct these issues and recycle right. Our city is quickly becoming an environmental leader—not just in the U.S., but in the world—and better recycling is an important step on that journey.”