State recycling programs receive grants

Published 11:00 pm Thursday, August 9, 2012

Written by Whitley Kilcrease

Recycling programs across the state, with the help of recently issued grants, will be able to enhance and create programs to help maintain and protect natural resources, wildlife and the environment.

The Alabama Department of Environmental Management awarded the city of Troy almost $300,000 as part of the Alabama Recycling Fund Grants program.

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“Our goal, along with the city of Troy, is to increase participation in current programs and make it easier for residents to take advantage of these programs by making improvements to planning and efficiency,” said Jerome Hand, ADEM public relations director. “It’s important to help local cities and counties any chance we get.”

According to Hand, ADEM awarded $2 million dollars in grants to recycling programs across the state in an effort to increase awareness of the importance of recycling as well as enhancing existing programs to simplify the recycling process for residents. The department granted the city of Troy the largest amount in the state with $292,000.

“We want the public to be educated and aware of the benefits and importance of recycling,” Hand said. “The money will help purchase equipment and trailers, along with helping recycling programs be easier to take advantage of by enhancing existing programs or starting new ones. It’s not only a benefit to the environment but to the economy as well.”

The grant would allow the city to enhance the program by purchasing new carts for hauling items and new wire mesh collecting bins for cardboard and paper. This would help residents utilize the program more efficiently.

“We just got our letter yesterday [Wednesday],” Mayor Jimmy Lunsford said. “This will help streamline efforts for homeowners wanting to participate in the recycling program.”

Hand said Troy’s current recycling program has been in place since 1991. Recycling is picked up once a week on the same schedule as garbage pickup. Acceptable items include aluminums, numbers one and two plastics, cardboard, newspapers, magazines and shredded computer paper.

“We’ve got one of the best recycling programs in the country already,” Lunsford said. “This grant will allow us to expand what we do.”

Other programs received grants from ADEM as well. The city of Dothan received $248,000 while Jefferson Davis Health Department accepted $246,000 and the city of Florence received $218,000. Also, The East Alabama Recycling Program was awarded $110,000 while the cities of Livingston and Tuscaloosa were granted $187,000 and $170,000 respectively.

The Alabama Recycling Fund is part of the Solid Wastes and Recyclable Materials Management Act signed into law by Gov. Bob Riley in 2008. The grants are funded through a $1-per-ton fee imposed on solid wastes discarded in Alabama landfills, which was enacted under the same law.

“Our number one goal is to safeguard Alabama’s natural resources,” Hand said. “Anytime we can keep garbage out of the landfills, it’s a benefit to the environment and the community.”