After months of uncertainty, the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) recently notified the Elmore County Commission (County) and other local government agencies that they were ending their recycling collection program. For the Elmore County Commission and its municipalities, this notice signifies the end to a partnership that has spanned almost 10 years. In 2010 when the County was searching for opportunities to offer recycling options to our citizens, the ADOC actively recruited the County for recyclables.
This recruitment led to a partnership that saw the County invest in close to 50- 8 cubic yard bins that would be strategically staged throughout the county to assist in citizens having easy access to this free service. The bins would be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, allowing citizens to deposit their comingled recyclable materials. Once deposited, ADOC would service these bins weekly and return the recyclable products to their material recovery facility located at their prison facility in Elmore. Once back on their facility, inmate labor would sort through the recyclable materials and separate them for ADOC to then sell.
Many factors have played into this decision according to a recent briefing held by ADOC with the affected local governments. Deferred maintenance costs, changes in internal business practices and ultimately structural issues with the material recovery facility have been cited as reasons for the end of the program.
In the short term, the County has no other option than to retrieve the nearly 50 recycling bins scattered across the county and temporarily suspend the free program until other options can be explored. Beginning the week of September 3rd, ADOC will begin retrieving close to 25% of the bins located throughout the county until all bins are eventually retrieved. Despite this setback, the County will continue to search for viable, cost effective solutions to make recycling available to our citizens.
Questions related to the County’s recycling efforts can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.