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Last updated 5:59AM ET
February 28, 2021
APR News Reports
APR News Reports
Tuscaloosa Embracing Recycling
(APR - Alabama Public Radio ) - Yesterday morning, we heard about the cost and challenges of "Going Green". Today, we'll hear about the challenges of recycling, and how the city of Tuscaloosa hopes an event tomorrow will help build a new social mindset. Alabama Public Radio's Brett Tannehill reports ...
Recycling is still somewhat of a new idea in Tuscaloosa, but outreach efforts are showing promise and inspiring hopes for a less wasteful future ... and what does that future sound like?

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We're standing at the bottom of a shredding and baling machine at a privately owned company called Waste Recycling, which the city of Tuscaloosa pays to process its recycling efforts.

Herz-"They are baling paper right now, but they do aluminum cans, magazines, cardboard all the things the city collects"

City recycling coordinator Bill Herz says Tuscaloosa currently offers an 8-thousand household curbside recycling service. There are also drop off bins at a handful of fire stations, churches and schools.

Herz-"The program is progressing, not fast enough, but it's progressing, and we're seeing some culture changes here about people understanding the need to recycle, and reuse and reduce the waste they produce."

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Outside the building, another machine is fed a load full of aluminum cans

... The cans are squashed and shot through a long metal tube into the back of a semi-trailer. Herz says demand is driving expansion of the curbside pickup program. He says people like the convenience, and that's the main reason they recycle.

Herz-"We are still at the stage where people need more convenience. The challenge is to change the culture a little bit, and then get more equipment, more investment, more buy-in by the city."

A new 120-thousand dollar recycling truck, expected online in July, will provide expanded curbside convenience. Meanwhile, local business interests are creating that convenience in other ways. Last year, Nucor Steel hosted a Hazardous Materials Recycling Day where the public could safely dump dangerous liquids, like paint, that don't belong in the household garbage.
Chris Rue chairs the recycling committee of the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama. Rue says the Chamber wanted to host a similar clean-up event for old office equipment. And after floating the idea around

Rue-"Every reaction we got was overwhelmingly positive, and the typical reaction we got was "I have a closet full of stuff. Tell where and when to be and I'll be there."

That day has arrived. "E-Cycling Day" happens tomorrow from 8-5 in the Belk's parking lot behind University Mall in Tuscaloosa. Electronics you CAN recycle at this event include stereo components, cell phones, computer hardware, copiers, VCRs, and typewriters.
Chamber member Lew Drummond says the event is designed to be simple, easy and convenient.

Drummond-"All someone has to do is put their old printers, computers in a box and bring them out there. We'll have someone to get them out of the car and give to a recycler to dispose of properly."

There are three important things to remember. First, E-Cycling Day does accept computer monitors, but does NOT accept televisions or microwaves. Also, be sure to remove any private information from your computer hard drives and cell phones. And finally, every cell phone or toner cartridge gets recycled into cash for Tuscaloosa's Pre-K program.
E-Cycling Day opens to the public tomorrow, but it's convenience has already been embraced with a lot early contributions from local businesses. The event is projected to recycle more than 100 tons of electronics ... 100 tons that no longer clutters area offices and households, and that won't end up in the county landfill.

For APR News, I'm Brett Tannehill
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