Cobb upgraded to platinum status by Green Communities Program: Exactly what does that mean?

the sign in front of the Cobb County Board of Commissioners buildingPhoto: Cobb County Courier/Larry Felton Johnson

At last Tuesday’s meeting of the Cobb County Board of Commissioners recognition was given to the departments that helped Cobb County achieve the platinum level in the Atlanta Regional Commission’s Green Communities Program.

The program was set up to promote sustainability in the region, and platinum is the highest status awarded to a city or county government.

The packet for the BOC meeting gave this information about the team in county government that worked on the project:

Cobb County’s Green Communities Committee was led by Kimberly White of Sustainability, Waste and Beautification and was comprised of staff from the following departments: Water, PARKS, Community Development, Fleet, DOT, Property and Sustainability, Waste and Beautification. All winners earned certification points for sustainable measures implemented in their communities.


BOC Chairwoman Lisa Cupid said in presenting the recognition, “We are the second county in the region to have obtained platinum status to become a green community in the Atlanta Regional Commission.”

Committee leader Kimberly White then talked about her team while accepting the recognition.

“I have had the awesome opportunity to be a part of a great team here in Cobb County,” she said. “We worked really, really hard.”

“We had a vision to get ourselves to platinum status,” she said. “What this means is that we were able to accomplish the majority of 82 different measures that determine how sustainable we are in Cobb County.”

What is the Green Communities Program?

The Green Communities Program was established by the Atlanta Regional Commission in 2009 “to recognize local governments that invest in programs and policies that lead to a more sustainable region.”

The centerpiece of the program is a voluntary certification process for local governments. Cities and counties can decide whether or not they want to participate in the program.

According to the website for the program, the goals include the following:

  • Reducing energy and water use in municipal operations through buildings, fleets and practices
  • Engaging with solid waste contractors to provide curbside recycling to residents and businesses
  • Providing public education and examples of new and emerging sustainability practices, like rooftop solar and green infrastructure.

What caused Cobb County to be upgraded to platinum status?

In describing the reasons Cobb’s status was upgraded to platinum in the program, the Green Communities staff wrote the following about the county:

Green Community since 2009

In 2021, they became the second county in the metro Atlanta region to achieve Platinum status in recognition of the county’s ongoing sustainability efforts, such as its significantly expanded recycling programs.

Cobb County has become a program leader for their comprehensive waste and recycling program.

Cobb County invested in robust recycling programs to address less regularly recycled materials, like glass and thin plastics.

Did you know that only 1/3 of all the glass in the U.S. is recycled? (Source: EPA data)

Cobb also participates in the Hefty Energy Bag Program, which turns hard-to-recycle plastics, like grocery bags, into cinder blocks to use in various construction projects.

The Hefty Energy Bag implementation is led by the Keep Cobb Beautiful Foundation which educates residents about the importance of recycling and works with Cobb County’s contracted waste and recycling haulers to reduce contamination and ensures the program is a success.

About the Cobb County Board of Commissioners

The county website describes the Cobb County Board of Commissioners as follows:

The BOC is the duly authorized governing authority of Cobb County and as such shall exercise the powers, duties and responsibilities vested in and imposed upon said officers by the above act and amendments. BOC consists of five (5) members of which four (4) members are known as commissioners and one (1) is known as Commission Chair.

The chairperson of the BOC is elected in a countywide ballot. The four district commissioners are elected for districts 1, 2, 3 and 4 and commissioners are required to live in the district they represent, and the voters who elect them also have to live within the districts.

Terms for the chairperson and the district commissioners are four years.

Compensation for the chairperson is $111,020 per year, and the district commissioners are paid $36,400 per year.

Current Board of Commissioners

Lisa Cupid, Chairwomanlisa.cupid@cobbcounty.org12/31/2024
Keli Gambrill, District 1keli.gambrill@cobbcounty.org12/31/2022
Jerica Richardson, District 2jerica.richardson@cobbcounty.org12/31/2024
JoAnn K. Birrell, District 3joann.birrell@cobbcounty.org12/31/2022
Monique Sheffield, District 4monique.sheffield@cobbcounty.org12/31/2024

1 Comment on "Cobb upgraded to platinum status by Green Communities Program: Exactly what does that mean?"

  1. Dora Locklear | April 18, 2022 at 8:56 am | Reply

    When asked if a new city would be eligible to receive portions of grants/funding that Keep Cobb Beautiful manages on the county level, the answer was that cities would have to apply for their own grants and funding.

    A municipality could appoint a representative and request a seat on the board of KCB but will not be eligible for monies.

    What would happen to a new municipality’s ability to craft/regulate a robust recycling program to reduce landfill and solid waste?
    West Cobb residents care about recycling ♻️ and this is another unknown. Has there been any mention of a recycling program as part of sanitation from any pro-city members? I have not seen any evidence; I’ve only heard about the city negotiating for lower fees.

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