Recycling is important to 14-year-old Autumn Callahan.
“Because in 20 years, I don’t want my kids to have to live in a dirty place,” said Callahan, a member of the Dawson County 4-H Club.
Callahan was one of about 30 people who attended a ribbon cutting ceremony Thursday celebrating Dawson County’s new single stream recycling program, which does not require residents to separate their recyclables into different bins.
Ten-year-old Preston Perdue brought some of his own recyclables from home to put into the compactor, which is at the county transfer station on Burt Creek Road.
“I like to recycle because I think it’s fun and I want to do my part to help save the world and save trees,” Perdue said.
According to County Manager Kevin Tanner, the new recycling program with Community Waste Services has been in service since Feb. 4.
The new setup allows the county to accept a wide range of recyclable materials, including aluminum and steel cans, various plastics, grocery bags, glass bottles and jars, newspapers, magazines, mail, office paper and cardboard.
All recyclables go into the same container and are compacted into small, tight bales that are taken to another location to be separated and sold.
“On Feb. 20, CWS was called to come pick up, and hauled off eight tons of recycled materials,” Tanner said. “That amount is double what we would have recycled last year in that same time period.”
Community Waste Systems provides recycling services for the cities of Milton, Roswell, Sandy Springs and now Dawson County.
Tanner noted the county’s goal is to double the number of recycled materials collected in 2008. He also said taxpayers are saving money through the new recycling agreement.
“The compactor and recycled materials are being hauled away and distributed at no cost, which is saving, and will save, us (Dawson County) a lot of money,” Tanner added.
Jane Berg, chairwoman of Keep Dawson County Beautiful, said recycling gives the people of the community a cleaner place to work, live and play.
Her husband, Mike Berg, is also pleased with the arrangement.
“This is a great addition to the county, as well as to the citizens of the county,” said Mike Berg, chairman of the board of commissioners.
Cathy Brooks, the county’s government and community affairs representative, encouraged everyone to recycle.
“Almost, or at least 40 percent, of what you throw away could be recycled,” she said. “That saves our landfills, and things like plastic never go away because it doesn’t biodegrade.”
E-mail Elizabeth Hamilton at email@example.com.