Thursday, October 2, 2014 · 2:25 a.m.
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City crews will now offer free curbside recycling to Chattanooga businesses. (Photo: Kate Haar)

City leaders have expanded curbside recycling collection to local businesses. 

"Customers who receive city garbage service are eligible for curbside recycle collection," Justin Holland with the city's Department of Public Works said via email. "Nonresidential garbage customers account for about 1,700 locations, which include mostly small businesses and nonprofits." 

The biweekly, property tax-based service includes collection of paper products, cardboard, aluminum cans, tin cans and all grades of plastics.  

Owner of Scenic City Recycling Joe Fowlkes said anytime a comparable service is offered for free, it gets the attention of competitors, such as his business. 

Although his company does more residential collection, it does have commercial clients. And his company collects more items than the city crews will, such as glass and electronics.

"We go above and beyond," he said. 

According to Keep America Beautiful, there were about 9,000 curbside recycling programs in the United States in 2009. 

That year, American residents recycled 82 million tons of materials. 

The recycling industry employed more than 1.1 million workers and created more than $236 billion in annual revenue in 2001, also according to Keep America Beautiful. 

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