More recycling this year

Published 12:19 am Saturday, April 21, 2012

As the “go green” movement increases, so does the amount of recyclables collected in Andalusia.

Eddie Crittenden, recycling center manager, said 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.

And they are, he said, as the nearly 40 percent of Andalusia residents who participate in the city’s curbside recycling program have kept more than 500,000 pounds of refuse out of the landfill in the last five months alone.

All recyclables go into one bag, and are picked up on the weekly trash pick up routes. Upon arrival at the center, the bags 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,” Crittenden 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.”

From October, at the beginning of the fiscal year, through the end of March, 573,840 pounds – or 286.92 tons – have been saved from going into the landfill, Crittenden said.

“That’s a lot of stuff, when you think about it,” he said. “People don’t really look at their bags and think that’s a lot, but it adds up.”

Crittenden said he believes 2012 will be a record year for recycling. At present, nearly 184 tons of cardboard, 23.45 tons of metal, 18.99 tons of plastics, 43.36 tons of newspaper and 17.44 tons of office/mixed paper was recycled and sold. In total, it earned the city $5,609.29 – and saved valuable space in the landfill, he said.

“I think it will be a tremendous year for recycling,” he said. “I’ve already sold three loads of cardboard, one load of metal and two other loads of cardboard are ready to go. None of that is in those totals, and we still have five months to go in this year, too.”

Crittenden said as residents become more aware of the benefits of recycling and the city’s ability to handle those items, participation will increase.

“Of course, we always feel like (participation) could be better,” he said. “We want people to recycle. That’s the bottom line.”

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

Andalusia residents can participate in the program by calling the recycling center at 222-0862. A green recycling bag will then be delivered to your home. When filled, put the green bag out beside your hobo, a recycling crew will pick it up and leave you another one.