Commission votes to expand recycling

Citizens throughout the county will get a chance to participate in curbside recycling after the County Commission voted to extend Waste Management’s contract at the May 24 commission meeting.

The extended contract includes optional countywide curbside recycling effective Oct. 1 of this year. The recycling service, which would cost $5.06 per month, will provide customers with a 64-gallon recycling cart to be emptied every two weeks.

Robert Kelley, director of the Shelby County Environmental Department, said he hopes more county citizens will participate since recycling will be easier.

“The more convenient you can make recycling, the more people are going to do it,” he said. “You don’t have to separate anything. You can throw it all in one bin.”

Customers will be able to recycle plastic, paper, aluminum and cardboard, but not glass.

The recycling service will include all parts of the county that do not currently have curbside recycling, except Calera, Columbiana and Vincent. Those three cities are not in the original contract with Waste Management, and they each contract for their own garbage pickup, Kelley said.

The service will also include Think Green Rewards, a recycling rewards program that allows customers to collect points to redeem for discounts and coupons for entertainment, dining and travel.

Kelley said he’s been pushing for curbside recycling for about 10 years, but he’s now seeing tremendous support from local communities.

“People are demanding it. You’ve got so many folks moving in, and they’ve had curbside recycling, they like it and they want it,” he said. “It’s $5.06 a month. We’re talking about $2.50 per trip. But so many people I’ve talked to say that’s not bad at all.”

Commissioner Larry Dillard said the service will benefit county citizens both immediately and down the road.

“This is going to save space in the landfill. This is going to save Shelby County taxpayers a lot of money in the long run,” Dillard said.

Waste Management customers will receive information about curbside recycling in the mail closer to Oct. 1, Kelley said.

In other commission business:

-A group of citizens from Vincent and Harpersville attended the meeting, and several members of the group spoke to the commission about their fears County Roads 62 and 85 would become truck routes to service a proposed limestone quarry.

Anne Bates Gibbons, a Vincent property owner, said citizens hope the rural areas of Vincent and Harpersville will stay that way.

“I hope you will realize we ride our bikes there, our children play there, we walk there,” Gibbons said to the commission. “I ask you to realize this is our home.”

Harpersville Town Council member William Rayfield also read a letter from Harpersville Mayor Theoangelo Perkins supporting citizens in their efforts against the possibility of the truck routes.