TUSCUMBIA — A recycling program operated by the Easter Seals Northwest Alabama Rehabilitation Center continues to grow since it became affiliated with Colbert County's recycling program.
Danny Prince, the center's administrator, used to receive a fair amount of recyclable materials in the center's parking lot bins.
The amount of paper and cardboard has increased since the center began working with the Shoals Solid Waste Authority's recycling program.
Prince said the Solid Waste Authority provided the center with two large, green collection bins that offered more visibility. He said the amount of material collected in the bins is enough to keep one person employed. The worker, a disabled adult, would likely have difficulty finding work in the private sector, he said.
The center provides job training assistance to adults with physical and mental disabilities.
The agreement with the solid waste authority allows the center to keep whatever it can earn for the recyclable materials it receives.
Colbert County's recycling program has been around for just more than two years and has increased the number of bins located throughout the county and in neighboring Franklin County from 13 to 26. The program is locating more recycling bins at Colbert County schools and local businesses.
Muscle Shoals Mayor David Bradford, a member of the authority's board of directors, said while it still does not earn enough money to pay for itself, the program's coordinators continue to educate people at different events, especially young people in city and county schools.
Money earned by the recycling program comes primarily from the sale of paper, cardboard, aluminum and plastic.
The amount earned depends on the current price for those materials.
"Right now the price on recyclable materials is real low," Prince said. "When prices are up, you obviously get a better return."
The program was started in the summer of 2010 with the help of a $65,000 grant from the Alabama Department of Environmental Management.
When it began accepting materials in October, it was collecting about 2 tons of material a week. That amount quickly grew to about 7 tons per week by the end of the year.
In January, 38.4 tons of recyclable materials were collected. In September, that amount increased to 47.8 tons.
"We believe the residents in Colbert and Franklin counties understand the importance and benefits of recycling and because of this, the intake on recyclable materials has increased drastically," said April Rogers, outreach coordinator for the county's recycling program.
Franklin County was a partner on the original grant application that got the program started.
Colbert County Commissioner Rex Burleson, chairman of the Shoals Solid Waste Authority, said the program continues to improve.
"We're about to a break-even point," Burleson said. "We have some grants to keep it operating. By the time the grant money runs out, we should be at the point where we're making a little money."
Bradford said even if the program isn't paying for itself, it reduces the amount of material it pays to have shipped to a regional landfill in Mississippi.
The recycling program accepts paper and cardboard, plastics such as soft drink bottles and milk containers, and steel and aluminum cans.
Russ Corey can be reached at 256-740-5738 or russ.corey@TimesDaily.com.
Easter Seals Rehabilitation Center, Avalon Avenue
Fire Department, East Avalon Avenue
GMS Testing, George Wallace Boulevard
McBride Elementary School, Avalon Avenue
River Side Texaco, River Road
Northwest-Shoals Community College, George Wallace Boulevard
Tree House School, Pickwick Street in The Village
Sheffield High School on 19th Street
Parking lot at Second Street and Raleigh Avenue downtown
Sheffield Fire Station Number One, East Second Street
Southern Package Store, Hatch Boulevard
Discount Dan’s, Second Street
Colbert County Office Complex, U.S. 72
Shoals Solid Waste Authority Recycling Center, U.S. 43
Dollar General parking lot, Sixth Street and Water Street
Water Department office, Old Lee Highway
Parking lot across the street from Town Hall, County Line Road
The county storm shelter, County Line Road
Colbert Heights Mini-Mart, Woodmont Drive
Franklin County Solid Waste Office, Coffee Street
Belgreen High School
Red Bay High School, Eighth Street
Jason’s Store, County Line Road