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Living in Gainesville and tossing glass in with your recycling? You'll have to stop soon

Starting Aug. 1, Gainesville residents will no longer be able to put glass in their recycling bins, but the change will help them avoid a recycling rate increase.

The city has been sending its recycling to Athens, but it will soon go to the Hall County Recycling Center, which is not equipped to handle recycling with glass mixed in.

The City Council unanimously approved the agreement with the county on Tuesday, June 18.

An education campaign will start July 1 to make residents aware of the change.

The county can sell recycled materials to vendors, which process them to make new products. Under the agreement with Gainesville, Hall will pay the city half the market rate for the cardboard it brings in. Gainesville wouldn’t receive any payment for single-stream recycling, which includes paper, plastics and metals.

City spokeswoman Nikki Perry said last week that Gainesville has been paying $100 per ton for single-stream recycling with glass, plus the labor and gas required to bring the materials to Athens. Hall County will take single-stream recycling for free and charges $33 per ton for trash, which would include glass.

City Manager Bryan Lackey has said the savings will allow the city to avoid having to increase recycling rates for residents. People will still be able to bring their glass to a Hall County compactor site to be recycled, and bringing the materials to the county recycling center in Gainesville is more efficient, he said.

“We were actually having to pay a company in Athens to take it from us, so it’s been costing us money, costing us man hours and time to take the material down there, so this change is really needed,” Lackey said Tuesday.

The Hall County Board of Commissioners will also have to approve the agreement at an upcoming meeting.