(Update-February 22, 2012-we’re happy to report that this bill has been killed and recycling efforts are no longer being threatened!) A new Alabama Bill, HB274, may actually harm the progress of commercial recycling efforts being made throughout the Birmingham area. It basically comes down to “no public drop-offs, because they can’t control if a business decides to use a free service or not,” says Micheal Churchman of Alabama Environmental Council.
The new bill was created in an effort to help the private-sector recycling businesses grow, but when private industry does not provide the service, cities and counties should be allowed to step in and help, explains Churchman.
Largely due to the success of the Alabama Recycling Fund, brand new recycling trailers (such as the ones pictured) are currently being dispersed throughout Jefferson County and other areas across our state. Since the fund was establish in 2008, ADEM has distributed more than $5 million to Alabama cities, counties, and solid waste authorities to expand recycling efforts across our state.
Churchman says that many private recycling companies, such as KW Plastics in Troy, can’t even operate their plants for more than a few days a week based on the low percentage of plastic that is recycled in Alabama. KW Plastics is one of the largest recyclers of plastics in the U.S., yet the company has to import approximately 98% of its overall plastic material for recycling. Churchman says, Bill HB274 “would diminish recycling across our state by stopping existing municipal programs and certainly keep any new efforts from happening.”
For more information about Bill HB274, and to learn how to support for the recycling industry in Alabama, please visit www.aeconline.org/HB274