To provide an efficient, cost-effective and sustainable integrated solid waste management program for residents and businesses within the Sanitation Division service area, with a sustained focus on customer service excellence.
A brief look back
Formed in 1937, the DeKalb County Sanitation Division has provided solid waste, recyclable materials and yard trimmings collection as a basic and important core service to county residents for decades. From the introduction of twice-a-week garbage collection service in the 1940s to the introduction of the recycling program in 1974, one of the Division’s foremost priorities has been and continues to be discovering opportunities and implementing policies and procedures for improving sanitation service delivery and cost value to its customers. The Division is cognizant of the need to remain fiscally and environmentally responsible in the face of rising operating costs. This approach led to the implementation of once-a-week sanitation collection service on July 6, 2015, one of the most extensive service changes in the County’s nearly 200-year history.
A move toward more efficient service operations
In July 2015, the Division began the consolidation of sanitation collection schedules aimed at improving service delivery and efficiency through simplified scheduling and once-a-week garbage, recycling and yard trimmings collection for all single-family residential households in its service area. This approach has been instrumental in streamlining sanitation collection processes, and has been a critical component of the Division’s quest to provide an integrated and sustainable business operations model. The following identify the key elements of this approach to how sanitation collection service is provided to the Division’s more than 163,000 customers:
Standardized containers. The standardized use of green 65-gallon county-provided garbage containers ensures neighborhoods are cleaner, neater and more aesthetically pleasing with the reduction of loose trash.
One-day-a-week garbage collection. Prior to 2015, garbage collection occurred twice a week. On the first collection day, the Sanitation Division collected more than 66 percent of countywide garbage. This left a much lighter second-day collection.
Consolidated collection. With consolidated collection, garbage, recyclable materials and yard trimmings are collected on the same day.
Environmental stewardship. The Division’s commitment to environmental sustainability includes a renewed focus on recycling education for County residents, as well as environmental stewardship initiatives such as the conversion of landfill gas to compressed natural gas (CNG); the installation of electric vehicle charging stations countywide; the implementation of an official glass recycling program; and the construction and management of county-owned and operated CNG stations at the Seminole Road Landfill and Central Transfer Station.
Click here for a map of the Sanitation Division's service area.
Changes to container options
Effective April 18, 2016, the Division implemented changes to garbage and recycling container requirements. Only county-provided garbage and recycling containers are approved for use.
The following provides a summary of approved garbage, recyclable materials and yard trimmings collection policies and procedures:
Garbage collection service - Only county-provided 45-, 65- and 95-gallon garbage roll carts are approved for garbage collection service. Secure, durable plastic bags are approved for excess garbage, and can be placed next to garbage roll carts on residents' scheduled collection day. Customers can obtain additional county-provided garbage roll carts to meet their excess garbage disposal needs.
Recycling collection service - Only county-provided 35- and 65-gallon recycling roll carts are approved for recyclable materials collection.
Yard trimmings collection service - Customer-provided containers are approved for yard trimmings collection. Yard trimmings must be prepared according to the Division’s preparation procedures, and should be contained in 20- to 40-gallon containers or biodegradable paper bags. Covered containers are not required, but any covered containers should have detachable lids.
A look ahead
The Sanitation Division is prepared to meet the challenges of an ever-increasing customer base, and the need for advancing the County’s environmental stewardship efforts. In light of this, the Division continually seeks to improve its business operations model through the recruitment of dedicated and skilled employees whose goals, vision and mission align with the Division’s; enhancements to collection, processing and disposal equipment and procedures that align with industry standards; and continually identifying ways to provide customers with the highest levels of service, through the use of standard operating procedures that are consistent with the Division’s approved business model; efficiently serving cities within the County’s joint solid waste management plan portfolio, and those with an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) with the County.