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Local residents recycle 2K tons annually

Landfill manager Tom Stephens shows how soda bottles are compressed, packaged and bundled for resale.

Those involved in Andalusia’s recycling program hope the time will come when every day is celebrated as Earth Day.

“Recycling has come a long way over the years,” said city landfill manager Tom Stephens. “It started out slow, but has really picked up over time – the last few years, especially.”

In Andalusia, residents have the option of curbside pickup of recyclables such as newspapers, magazines, telephone books, office paper, mailings, aluminum and steel cans, plastic bottles and jugs and cardboard.

In 2010, the city processed nearly 2,000 tons of recyclable materials.

“The great thing about recycling is that it keeps these items out of our landfill, which means our kids won’t have to worry about how to deal with it in the future,” Stephens said. “Most people don’t realize it, but 40 percent of all the things used in the U.S. can be recycled.”

Eddie Crittenden, recycling center manager, said there are a multitude of uses for the items once they’re been recycled.

“Since those things can be used to make other things, recycling saves trees,” Crittenden said. “Steel cans go to make automobile parts and other cans. Plastics can be used to make flowerpots, lumber and liners for a lawnmower. Aluminum cans are used to make siding for houses.

“In years past, all those products came from raw materials,” he said. “Now, we use recyclables.”

Residents are asked to place all recyclable materials in the green garbage bags provided by the city and placed along side one’s regular garbage can for pick-up on garbage day. Sorting is not required.

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Once the bags arrive at the center, they are placed onto a table, opened and the items are hand sorted.

Once sorted, those items are packed and bundled and then sold to the highest bidder.

“Everything we take in here is resold,” Stephens said. “What can’t be sold is buried in the landfill. That’s why it’s so important to recycle, because those things that can’t be reused, they’re buried in the ground.”

The recycling center and landfill are located in the city’s industrial park, located just off Sutton Road.

TO PARTICIPATE
The 35 to 40 percent of Andalusia residents who partcipated in the city’s curbside  recycling program last year kept 2,000 tons of refuse out of the landfill. To participate,  call the recycling center (222-0862) and a green recycling bag will be delivered to your home. When you put the green bag out beside your hobo, a recycling crew will pick it up and leave you another one.