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3 things you can do to deal with missed recycling and yard waste pickups

Residents across metro Atlanta lament overflowing bins and full bags left on the streets for weeks but there are a few things you can do.

ATLANTA — From Atlanta to Gwinnett, Cherokee, and Cobb counties, there's a good chance you’re dealing with missed pickups for trash, recycling, and yard waste.

While it’s been an off-and-on problem throughout the pandemic, viewers are telling 11Alive it’s gotten worse with this latest COVID surge impacting available workers.

Jessie Williams showed us overflowing blue bins and yard debris along the streets in her neighborhood of Haynes Manor.

"We've been driving down the street and my son is constantly asking whose Christmas present is the trash? Have they opened it yet?, " Williams said. 

"For now we've been leaving it but they've been overflowing so it's a matter of do we start a pile in the back? I'm not sure," Williams added.

The City of Atlanta said staff shortages have led them to prioritize trash pickup for sanitary reasons, but what can residents do to deal with the rest of it?

For recycling, you have a few options: 

  • Wait it out.
  • Toss your recyclables in the trash knowing they'll end up in the landfill.
  • Bring them yourself to a drop-off facility like CHARM in southeast Atlanta. CHARM accepts items like cardboard, plastic, glass and metal for free- as well as hard to recycle items like paint and electronics (some of those items may incur a fee).

RELATED: Recycling do's and don'ts | What items to keep out of your blue bins

Founder Peggy Ratcliffe said recently they've seen a huge increase in traffic with 40,000 drop-offs in 2020, 62,000 drop-offs in 2021, and in just the first few weeks of 2022, 15,000 drop-offs.

"Their lack of trust with curbside recycling is why they're bringing it here," Ratcliffe said.

For yard waste, you can wait it out, compost it yourself or drop it off yourself, although spots vary based on where you live. 

For now, Williams is holding out hope that crews will make it to her neighborhood before Sunday's winter storm.

"It's overflowing...it's possible that there's more mess to clean up later," Williams said.

The City of Atlanta said it hopes to be back on schedule and expects to be staffed appropriately by Jan. 31.

Here are some locations you can bring recycling to: (You should call the locations before to confirm hours and residential requirements. There are also some locations that require reservations.)

You can also find yard waste locations here:

  • 2175 James Jackson Pkwy, Atlanta, GA
  • 1540 Northside Pkwy NW, Atlanta, GA
  • 2150 County Services Parkway, Marietta, GA (Cobb County) 
  • 535 Seaboard Industrial Drive, Lawrenceville, GA (Gwinnett County)

Click here for more information about recycling and yard waste pickup here.