LOCAL RECYCLING -- AS
BEST YOU CAN
The GEC has received numerous complaints this year about problems with
recycling. We did some research and focused on this issue at our
March meeting. Here are some things we
Unfortunately, very little gets recycled from Glynn County. The
City of Brunswick has no recycling program at all! On Jekyll Island, the
JIA maintains a recycling drop-off center which seems to take almost
everything, but only newspapers, clean cardboard, and aluminum cans actually
get recycled. The rest is carried away by Waste Management to a
landfill. The newspapers are taken down the road to Audubon’s recycling
shed. And, if you don’t live on Jekyll, you aren’t supposed to use this
drop-off site. “This would be illegal dumping,” says Doc Brown, JIA’s
Superintendent of Sanitation.
At its drop-off center on Habersham Road, Waste Management takes only
clean cardboard for recycling. Coastal Recycling & Disposal on 4th
Avenue currently takes clean cardboard and construction materials. Glynn
Iron & Metal , 511 Lanier Blvd, takes all kinds of metal and will pay you
for aluminum cans.
Glynn County itself has gone entirely to curbside pick-up. Southland
Waste Systems holds the contract for providing the pick-up. As with some
other local recyclers, Southland processes only clean cardboard for
recycling. The rest of what they will pick up from you (aluminum cans,
newsprint, junk mail, plastics 1 & 2, magazines) are taken to Jacksonville
where BFI “takes them off our hands,” according to Southland’s Charlie
There is no way at all
to recycle glass or tin cans in Glynn County.
The complaints which GEC has been receiving stem from the lack of
recycling in the City and the problems in the county with getting recycling
bins and then getting recycling picked up. The publicity which the County
sent out stated that this was to be bi-weekly recycling, but in reality it
is only twice-monthly, so sometimes 3 weeks pass between pick-ups. We know
that the earliest folk to sign up for the new recycling program somehow “got
lost” and need to sign up again. Original insistence that all recycling fit
into the small bins provided by Southland has been changed, thankfully, to
“put it in something and leave it right beside the bin” (see picture).
Still, there are problems with pick-up. While Paul Christian, Assistant
County Administrator, cites statistics to show that Southland is doing a
very good job, many County Commissioners expressed frustration at all the
complaints which they receive – so much so that two of them (Johnson and
Lynn) refused to support a modest 2% garbage fee increase at the
Commission’s April 6th meeting.
What does the future hold? Marcia Smith of
Keep Brunswick-Golden Isles
Beautiful says that recycling for businesses (office paper) is currently
in the contracting process with a goal of starting this summer. She
believes that the answer to the recycling problems in the county would be a
central drop-off center, but there are no plans for one as this is contrary
to the County’s commitment to 100% curbside recycling. Hal Smith of Coastal
Disposal & Recycling says that they’d like eventually to have a full-service
drop-off center, but this is far down the road, if ever.
You can pile your recycling around the bin, since it only gets picked up
every 2-3 weeks.
Photo by Robert Randall
In our conversations with people involved in local recycling, there emerged
a catch-22. Everyone said that we don’t have enough recycled materials to
make recycling economically feasible, that the markets for the materials are
too far away, and the amounts paid for them are too little. In other words,
we fall short of the economy of scale “needed” for recycling to pay off.
Yet, without a good recycling program, we cannot ever develop a “sufficient”
recycling stream. Won’t there have to be sufficient investment in recycling
before there can be a return? Even more, is recycling something which
has to pay for itself, or is it something which is a necessary public
service in order to handle our use of materials in an environmental and
So what can we do now?
If you are not yet recycling, and live in the County, get signed up. If you
are in the City, call your City Commissioner and demand that the City get a
recycling program going.
If you have problems with getting a recycling bin or with your recycling
getting picked up, call the County’s customer service center at 554-7111.
But don’t stop there. Also call your County Commissioners (your
District Commissioner and the 2 at-large members) and the County
As Lois Gibbs told us, ultimately we must hold our elected officials
accountable for getting the job done.
You can get the phone #’s for your Commissioners at
3- Take advantage of every opportunity to recycle.
Click here for a good one coming up.
At our March
meeting, the GEC decided that we could not put a recycling campaign on the
shoulders of our already-overworked Project Manager. If effort is to be
made on this, it will have to come from our membership. We know that some
of you are interested in recycling. The GEC office can help you connect
with one another, so call us at 466-0934 if working for a good local
recycling program is something you’d like to do.