Birmingham, AL – The City of Birmingham (COB) is receiving 15,000 new recycling bins through a grant to the Jefferson County Department of Health to expand recycling across the County by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management Recycling Fund, and in partnership with the Alabama Environmental Council. Of the 80,000 households in Birmingham, it is estimated that only 5,500 now have recycling bins. The City has been unable to purchase any new bins for at least the last ten years due to budget cuts and economic restraints. Because of lack of bins and minimal education and promotion, participation has stagnated around 1-2%.
“These new recycling bins will give residents new opportunities to participate and the overall project a huge boost,” said Brenda Dent-Russell, Keep Birmingham Beautiful Coordinator, and responsible for City recycling. “The City provides weekly pickup curbside for recycling on Wednesdays, but residents haven’t been able to request a recycling bin for years. Through this grant, the program should be able to grow significantly and the City will be able to recycle responsibly. All accepted materials should be put in the recycling bins including paper, cardboard, cans, and all household plastics. All materials will be collected in our existing waste trucks and delivered to Birmingham Recycle & Recovery to be sorted and recycled.”
In 1991 the COB expanded curbside recycling by offering the service to every household that already received Municipal Solid Waste collection. The City purchased 40,000, 14- and 18-gallon recycling bins and created a public education campaign called “Recycle Magic.” Throughout the life of the program, participation rates have been as high as 75% in certain neighborhoods but as low as 1% overall. Funding for these bins is being provided through the Alabama Recycling Fund of the Alabama Department of Environmental Management.
“This grant to JCDH has been a great catalyst for recycling across Jefferson County,” said Michael Churchman, director of Alabama Environmental Council and administrator of the grant. “Grants have provided funds for an Event Recycling Trailer, Glass Recycling Pickup for bars and restaurants, Drop-Off Recycling Trailers for 6 communities, and now 15,000 bins for City residents. One of the most frequent calls to our office is how to get a recycling bin and join recycling local programs. After 5 years at AEC, I’m happy we finally found a way to get recycling bins for residents.”