Garbage Post

fullgarbage fullrecycling

I must be giving out some seriously wretched vibes lately, because in the past 24 hours, I received two unrelated pics of people’s trash.

The first is from Chris, who notes that his “Old Decatur” bag is a stark contrast to the 1/3 full blue Decatur bags he sometimes sees.  (I must be an “Old Decatur” poser since I’ve been known to jam way too much in my go-to yellow bag.

The recycling bins pic is from Susan, asking for larger recycling bins for all residents.  You may recall that Decatur was in the running for a Coke grant that would have funded 65 gallon bins for all Decatur residents, but based on the lack of noise on that front, I’m guessing we didn’t get it.  I believe anyone can still purchase the 95 gallon bin from the city though.


45 thoughts on “Garbage Post”

    1. and 65 = 95.

      They are worth it for the ease of use alone. And, depending on the size of your family, they may even pay for themselves. We recycle much more than we did with just the free bins and no longer end up throwing stuff away b/c our recycle bins are overflowing.

  1. Chris, I don’t think it has anything to do with old vs new. I think it has more to do with “does mind” vs “doesn’t mind” spending money to throw away air.

    1. Not unless it’s this specific kind of cart. It’s designed to work with automated trucks. It’s not emptied by hand, but by a lifting arms that grabs the handle in a special way.

        1. Well, once you see/pull one in person you’ll be instantly aware of the relative impossibility of a person lifting and emptying the thing by hand, much less many of them along a route. It’s a beast.

          Trash bins aren’t subject to the same issue (here, at least) since the trash is bagged and is generally pulled out by hand.

          1. Lump,
            I don’t see why Dec, or anyone else for that matter, can’t buy a rolling trashcan that’s smaller than the $65 model and paint “recycling” on it. I can’t imagine the current boxes are lifted by an automated truck, so I’d think they could lift a small trashcan of recycling as well. Or did you specifically hear that recycling will only be accepted if it’s in the boxes or the $65 recycling can? I think I could buy a smaller rolling trashcan for less $ and I can’t imagine I’d have a use for that big blue rollerbin.

            1. Can probably avoid a lot of confusion by just quoting directly from the CoD website:

              “Remember that your recycling must go into a recycling bin or 95 gallon cart supplied by the City of Decatur via the contract with Latham Home Sanitation. The 18 gallon bins are free and will be delivered to your door. If you prefer, you can purchase a 95 gallon wheeled cart from Latham Home Sanitation for $68.00 which would hold more recyclables and easier to roll to the curb for collection. If you have any questions, please call the Sanitation Department, 404-377-5571. If you need a bin or would like to order a 95 gallon cart, please call Latham Home Sanitation, 678-858-5407.”

              So there’s your answer. Sorry if it cramps your style, but your choices are a 95-gallon wheeled cart or as many of the 18-gallon bins as you care to use.

              As someone who covers this industry for a living I can tell you that this falls into a long line of proposals that seem perfectly reasonable to the resident but actually cannot be entertained by the waste collector for very good reasons. In this case, the risk of injury (repetitive or acute) of asking workers to shoulder containers bigger than the 18-gallon bins (which, depending on what recyclables they’re filled with can already be a pain to hoist) is high. So the options laid out here seem pretty reasonable to me. $68 isn’t going to break anyone.

              1. Good to know. Thanks, Lump. And yes, $68 won’t break anyone, but spending more than you have to isn’t exactly savvy.

              2. I’m surprised the city’s website says that. I asked last year during Decatur 101 and was told that the special recycling bins were required by a previous recycling contractor. I wrote “recycling” on my old rolling trash can and haven’t had any trouble with them picking it up. I think mine’s a lot lighter than what was described above.

  2. I am all for the larger cans, even if people need to buy them on their own. In the Great Lakes there were highways of rats on the fence lines. between my neighbor and myself we were killing 15 to 20 a month in traps. We were very carefull about trash and recycling but with so many open bins through the city the urban neighborhood rat problem was bad. Clearly the critters are all going in and out of the open recycle bins. larger bins with lids would be a huge improvment.

    1. We haven’t had to separate any for years. The two color bins are just left over from the old rules.

  3. I just contacted Sean Woodson with the City who steered me to William Kelling with Latham Homes Recyclying. He says In-Town Ace started carrying the 95-gallon bins several months ago. Y’all don’t rush out and snap ’em all up before I can get mine, though!

  4. Its a lot easier to just contact Latham and let them deliver the 65 gal bin. They did that for us a couple of years ago.

    1. When we traded in our small bins, for the one large bin, we were given a credit for each small bin that we returned toward the purchase of the large rolling bin. Don’t know if they still do that but it’s worth the question. Having one large bin is awesome.

  5. Someone please tell me the half gallon wax/paper milk cartons are recyclable. And chicken broth boxes. Someone here said they were a good while back, but I looked on the website and didn’t see anything about it. We go through a lot of organic milk in those cartons and I would love to know they are recyclable.

    Also…really? People don’t wash out their recyclables? We actually run our plastic through the dishwasher before putting them in the bin. I thought the food contaminated the recycling.

    1. Washing out your recyclables is a waste of water. If you’re going to be green and recycle, you should also be more worried about your water usage.

      1. But I really did think the food contaminated the recycling. Not so?

        We stick peanut butter jars and cottage cheese containers in our dishwasher which runs anyway, so not wasting water.

        1. The City site ( provides a list of acceptable recyclables.

          Latham does not want milk cartons nor do they recycle what are called “aseptic” packages (, which are different from milk cartons and can be recycled in some places (my former area in Michigan, for instance).

          The Latham brochure linked from the City page mentions that items “contaminated with waste” are not acceptable. This is vague.

          A friend used to remind me to “not waste resources trying to save resources.” Thus, *some* care with cleaning off food is best. The reduction of waste is the goal, always. The waste associated with mechanical appliances counts. For instance, one could clean a dish in the dishwasher space taken by what is essentially garbage.

          In requiring “waste”-free recyclables (Latham’s word choice does confuse matters), the recycling contractor is trying to mitigate the creepy-crawly troubles in processing and shipment. However, there will always be some food waste in the process — they cannot eliminate it.

          A healthy dose of prudence in one’s use of resources and cleaning seems sound.

  6. And I’ll search the world over
    For my angel in black.
    Yeah, I’ll search the world over
    For a Eurotrash girl.


  7. Man, that Chris is a man after my heart (Is it OK for me to express this kind of feeling on DM?)
    So Chris, is that a four bagger or a six bagger? JT, do you have any experience with heavy loading a yelllow bag? I see you are concerned, like I am, with “Death From Recylcing”.
    OMG, here I am, requesting a DM conversation!
    But seriously folkes, maybe this guy Chris needs to get a sticky note from the SP crowd saying, “This bag MAY be in violation of the 25 pound limit. If it happens again, you will receive a severe tongue lashing and finger waving from the waste management tsar.”
    OK, OK, I’m getting pretty snarkie and trollish here. If I’m not careful, one of my favorite DM people will post a chastising remark. So one more question. Am I the only guy in town who walks around a Decatur neighborhood Sunday evening, looking around to see if anyone is paying attention, and then suddenly, grabbing a three quarter empty blue bag and running home, stuffing a final garbage bag inside so I can have all my stuff picked up at the curb? Now that’s New Decatur!

    1. Oh my goodness! That last part about you running around clutching another person’s 3/4 empty trash bag is cracking me up! Even Clark Howard would shake his head and say, “He’s doing WHAT?!?”

      (Chris, I KNEW you had the right DM stuff in you, and I’ve been lovin’ each time you comment lately! You’re getting a big ol’ hug the next time I see you– which will hopefully be very soon! :0)

    2. Oh Chris, if you only knew. We actually have a lot of stuff around the house and in the garage that needs to get thrown out. I refuse to do it all at once and “waste” yellow or blue bags. So instead, I wait for weeks when we have a not-so-full bag on trash day and start stuffing that stuff in there.

      Trash day also always reminds me that many folks in Decatur are not as environmentally conscious as they seem to claim. If they were, you’d see a whole lot more green trash bags. If you compost everything that you can compost and recycle everything that can be recycled, you wouldn’t need more than a small green bag!

      1. J_T, trash amnesty day is just around the corner. maybe we should have a contest for the biggest pile at the curb. Eye on the trash pile photos? Now that would be garbage.

        1. I like it! Now I’ve got an excuse to hold off on hauling the couch that’s been in our backyard since last Cinco de Mayo to the curb for a few more weeks!

      2. I don’t think one yellow bag per week for a family of four – and two cats – is excessive.
        Really, the cats and their….stuff take up 1/4 of our weekly haul.

        I wish cat litter had other uses, but I don’t think I can put that in our “green” bags.

        1. I so wish for a greener way to dispose of what the cat generates, than bagging it and sending it to the landfill. I’ve read that pet waste can be composted, but have not tried it. Requires a steady supply of fresh sawdust, which could probably be secured with some effort. Still wouldn’t solve the problem of what to do with the clumps.

          1. And actually, when I read about composting pet waste it mainly focused on dogs. I think people with sled dog teams probably came up with it.

  8. It would take me months to fill up a 95-gal bin. Wish they’d offer the kind Atlanta has — 18-gal (or so) with lid, wheels on one end and a rope handle on the other.
    On the other hand, the recycling crew consistently throw the empty bins all over the place, mostly blocking the sidewalk but sometimes in the street. Or maybe fed-up pedestrians toss them in the street. In any case, they then get run over — one of mine got terminally broken just last week. Not interested in spending my own money for a fancy new one that will then get tossed in the path of the MARTA bus. Bad enough to put up with the abuse my rolling, snap-lid trash can has suffered over the years.

    Not washing food-related recyclables attracts rats, roaches & possums to my premises (and yellow jackets in warm weather) and contributes to vermin problems farther down the recycling stream. Either the rodents or the food traces or both will potentially attract coyotes to the yard. I’m careful about water usage in general, and am not going to fret about the water required to rinse out what I’m recycling. The dishwasher gets run when it’s full or every 2-3 days, whichever comes first. The odd mayonnaise jar doesn’t increase my carbon footprint.

  9. We went ahead and bought a nice blue wheely bin with lid and love it, neat and tidy, no stuff blowing away….. no one knows your recycling business 🙂

    Any ideas on if the city might be working on curbside composting? That would be fabulous.

  10. As a member of the former Waste Management Board for many years, it’s great to see all of the discussion on recycling/trash!

    Last year, we bought a cheap 32-gallon blue can at one of big box hardware stores (I think is was even on sale) for around $10. It contains most of our weekly recycling, but we supplement with one of the city-supplied containers when needed. Because it has a lid, it’s usually not that heavy (paper, cardboard, etc.) and easier to pick up – we haven’t heard any grief from the sanitation dept. yet.

Comments are closed.