(Certified Best Practice by BMPCOE)
City of Chattanooga - Chattanooga, TN
In support of its environmental and quality-of-life efforts, Chattanooga initiated a Curbside Recycling Collection Program in 1992 to provide residents with a curbside, pick-up recycling collection service. Collected materials are sorted, processed, and sold through a Materials Recovery Facility operated by Orange Grove Center, a sheltered workshop for the physically and mentally-challenged. This Material Recovery Facility was constructed using federal, state, and corporate contributions, and the Orange Grove Center will share the revenue with the City, which will also pay Orange Grove $3.00 per household per year.
The program uses Dual Blue Bags as the primary containers for recyclable materials. One bag is used for co-mingled waste paper (newspaper, mixed paper, and cardboard). The second one is used for co-mingled waste containers (plastic bottles and jugs, glasses, bottles and jars, and metal cans). To accomplish the recyclable material pick-up, the City changed its policy from two garbage pick-ups each week to one garbage pick-up and one Dual Blue Bag recyclable pick-up. Residents acquire their own blue bags which are available free from certain area merchants, or purchased for two to ten cents each.
The Curbside Recycling Collection Program averages 20% to 25% use per week, with some weeks peaking at 40%. As a result of this program, a 14% reduction in landfill is estimated to have resulted, and the Orange Grove Center can provide jobs for up to 100 mentally and physically-challenged clients; these jobs become part of their skill development program. The Orange Grove Connection helps motivate residents to participate in the recycling program, and provides continued educational opportunities and public awareness of the City's environmental agenda.