County offers several ways to recycle

Published 9:33 pm Monday, September 22, 2008

When Judy Quick heads off to church in Montevallo each Sunday she double checks to make sure she has her keys, her Bible and her recycling.

“People even bring glass to my house so I can take it to Montevallo,” Quick said. “I actually wasn’t surprised to find out that many people don’t know where the recycling centers are in Shelby County because I didn’t even know about all of them.”

The recycling bin at the University of Montevallo is the only one in the county that takes glass, but its still not the most popular.

“The Helena and Heardmont areas need to have curbside recycling because our bins there are just flowing over all the time,” said Robert Kelley with the county’s environmental services department.

The cities of Alabaster and Pelham already use curbside programs. Allied Waste, the company that runs the Alabaster program, collected 87 tons of recyclable materials in June and 86 tons in July, according to operations manager Jeff Carol. Carol said about 70 percent of Alabaster homes participate.

The city of Helena, after two years, has gathered almost 1,000 signatures for a curbside program. Mayor Sonny Penhale said Helena’s youngest residents really pushed him to do so.

“We started about a year or two back trying to put together a program because we have so many young people who really care about it,” Penhale said. “I had so many of them sending me notes and calling me that I promised I would get something done.”

Helena residents can learn more about curbside programs following the Oct. 6 city council meeting.

People not recycling costs the county thousands of dollars. In April, Governor Bob Riley signed a bill that allows the Alabama Department of Environmental Management to charge $1 per each ton of trash dumped in a landfill.

“We’ll be paying around $200,000 a year to dump trash when about 35 percent of it is recyclable,” Kelley said. “But you’ve got to make it very convenient or people aren’t going to do it.”

Kelley said curbside programs are more successful, but also more expensive. He said a typical program would increase garbage rates by about $5.

In the meantime, recycling receptacles are set up at Joe Tucker Park in Helena, Heardmont Park off Highway 119, the Ray Building in Columbiana, Chelsea City Hall, Harpersville City Hall and the University of Montevallo.

Several other locations take various items; a container behind the health department takes aluminum as does the Shelby Shores Community Center on Lay Lake; the Shelby County Humane Society takes newspaper, and the United States Post Office takes junk mail.