Countywide recycling initiative fills in gaps in divided neighborhoods

Some residents in the Park Forest subdivision along Alabama 119 in Alabaster have been recycling for years.

Others have never had the chance to recycle.

Park Forest is one of many subdivisions in the county where the neighborhood is divided between city and county jurisdictions.

As you enter Park Forest, several of the houses on the right are under county jurisdiction, while houses on the left are under city jurisdiction.

This trend continues throughout the neighborhood, as brown Waste Management trash bins sit in front of county homes on trash pickup days, while blue Allied Waste Management trash and recycle bins sit in front of city homes.

However, Park Forest and other subdivisions across the county will soon be united, as the Shelby County Commission recently voted to create a countywide curbside recycling program, except for in the cities of Calera, Columbiana and Vincent.

The program will cost residents $5.06 per month, and customers will be provided a 64-gallon recycling cart that will be emptied every two weeks.

Nita Furlong is one of the Park Forest residents who takes advantage of Alabaster’s recycling program, but it hasn’t always been that way.

Furlong’s home was annexed into the city three years ago, and she said her family requested the annexation because of the recycling.

Prior to the annexation, the Furlongs recycled, but they had to take their recyclable garbage to drop-off points and churches.

“It’s just so much easier to have them pick it up in your front yard,” Furlong said.

Furlong recycles everything from aluminum cans to cardboard and plastic, but she said she wished the city, and county, would also pick up glass.

Montevallo is currently the only city in the county that recycles glass, but the service is not available for home pickup.

“It’s good for the environment and it’s easy to do,” Furlong said. “Why not do it?”

While the new county initiative will allow all Park Forest homes to recycle from their front yards, not all residents plan to take part in it.

Janice Vick lives across the street from Furlong, but she said she will not take advantage of the service.

“We just don’t do that,” Vick said. “We don’t have that much garbage.”