Your definitive guide to recycling in Birmingham

UAB
Recycling at UAB. Photo courtesy of UAB Sustainability

It’s no secret Birmingham has some catching up to do when it comes to recycling. With the closure of the Alabama Environmental Council recycling facility a few months ago after 40+ years of operation, it might even feel like we are going backwards. But there are still so many other options for recycling and wells of information untapped. Here’s your definitive guide to where, how and what to recycle in Birmingham.

Where and What to Recycle ♻️

Birmingham Recycling and Recovery

9 41st St. S, Birmingham, AL 35222 | 205-591-8201
Open Mon-Fri 7AM-4PM | Closed Sat-Sun

Accepts:

  • Aluminum Cans/Steel Cans
  • Cardboard *Does not accept waxed or food contaminated boxes, ie: pizza boxes.
  • Newspaper
  • Office Paper
  • Plastic #1: Look for the recycle symbol with the number 1 in the middle to know what number plastic it is. Typically number one plastics include soda, water and salad dressing bottles.
  • Plastic #2: Look for the recycle symbol with the number 2 in the middle to know what number plastic it is. Typically number two plastics include milk jugs, shampoo and conditioner bottles.
  • *Find more details here.

UAB Recycling Center

Walking to class? Utilize the UAB Recycling Bins! Photo courtesy of UAB

620 11th St. S, Birmingham, AL, 35233 | (205) 996-9043
Open Mon 7AM-9AM, Thurs 4-5:30 | Closed Tues, Wed, Fri-Sun


Accepts:

  • Cans: Aluminum (soda, beer) – place in the green compactor. Steel (soup, tuna, veggies, etc.) place in the gray labeled tote in front of the green compactor.
  • Paper Products: Clean recyclable paper products. Shredded paper must be bagged. Boxes should be flattened.
  • Plastic Bottles: Empty and rinsed #1 bottles and cups only
  • Used Cooking Oil/Grease: Place in the white shed at the drop off entrance. Empty jugs on top, full jugs on bottom.

Unaccepted Items

  • Glass
  • Automotive Products
  • Hazardous Waste
  • Ammunition
  • Stickers or labels by themselves
  • Greasy/food contaminated paper (Pizza boxes, etc.)
  • Plastic bags
  • plates or utensils
  • 6-pack rings
  • Plastic that shatters
  • Styrofoam

Electronics Recycling with Protec Recycling

Electronics are accepted by appointment only. Accepted items include laptops, tablets, cell phones, rechargeable batteries etc. (Full list here.) Unaccepted items include broken leaking or corroded batteries, anything too large for a pallet, any liquids of any kind etc. Call 205-934-9675 to set up an appointment to drop off items. Some will be accepted at the UAB Drop Off Center, but some items can be taken directly to Protec Recycling.

Styrofoam (Polystyrene)

  • The Pak Mail at Lee Branch (1401 Doug Baker Blvd, Suite 107, Mon-Fri 9AM-6PM, Sat 10AM-2PM, Closed Sun) accepts all forms of styrofoam, and although it’s a drive—it’s worth it.
  • Downtown, the UPS City Center store (209 20th St N, Open Mon-Fri 6:30AM-7:30PM, Sat 9AM-1PM, Closed Sun) accepts styrofoam packing peanuts.
  • Publix downtown (230 20th St S, Open Mon-Sun 7AM-10PM) accepts styrofoam washed and dried in the green bin through the first double doors on the ground floor main entrance.

Glass

Target stores in the Birmingham area and all over the United States will recycle small amounts of glass, rechargeable batteries, plastic bags and more. Find them here.

CFL Light Bulbs and Batteries

You can recycle Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs (CFLs) at multiple places in and around Birmingham including various Lowes, Home Depot and Batteries Plus stores. Find a store near you.


Batteries Plus also accepts automobile and rechargeable batteries. Home Depot and Lowes both accept rechargeable batteries. Your single use batteries are safe to throw away, but your rechargeable batteries are recyclable. Here’s a full list of places in and around Birmingham who accept rechargeable batteries.

City of Birmingham

Whether or not the City of Birmingham provides residents with a recycling bin isn’t clear. The easiest thing to do is purchase your own blue bin at Home Depot. They’ll also accept recyclables placed in a brown paper bag—no plastic bags. See photo below for accepted materials.

City of Birmingham accepted recyclable materials list. Photo via BirminghamAL.gov

City of Bessemer

1601 1st Ave N, Bessemer, AL 35020 | 205-425-0068
Open Mon-Fri 7AM-3PM | Closed Sat-Sun


*Accepts cardboard, plastics, newspaper, etc.—For more information, contact the Recycling Center at 205-425-0068.

City of Leeds

1440 9th Street, Leeds AL 35094 | 205-699-2585
Open Tues-Fri 9AM-4PM, Sat 7:30AM-12:30PM | Closed Sun

Accepts:

  • Aluminum Cans
  • Cardboard / Newspaper
  • Office Paper
  • Plastic Bottles & Containers
  • *For more info, visit their site.

City of Gardendale

Gardendale Recycle AL Trailer | 325 Main St., Gardendale,  AL 35071| 205-631-3394
Open Mon-Fri 8AM-2PM | Closed Sat-Sun


Accepts:

City of Homewood

The City of Homewood will pick up certain recyclables. (Visit this site to find out what days they will pick up from your address.) Here’s a picture of accepted and non-acceptable materials:

City of Homewood accepted recyclable materials list. Photo via cityofhomewood.com

City of Mountain Brook

From their site: “Recycling materials are collected from the curb once a week on the same day as garbage and trash service. Items that can be recycled include:


  • Newspaper
  • Aluminum, steel and other metal cans
  • No.1 through 7 plastic containers
  • HDPE clear plastic milk jugs
  • PET plastic soft drink containers
  • Cardboard and cardboard boxes
  • Household and office paper products

Residents are not required to remove labels from containers placed in the recycling bins; however, caps should be removed from containers and containers should be rinsed out.”
*Check here for a pick-up day map and schedule for 2019.

Composting

If you’re searching for compost to use, Mountain Brook uses the leaves from residents to create compost. Anyone, not just Mountain Brook residents, can come by the Public Works facility and collect compost—free of charge if you load it yourself. There is a $20 charge per load for workers to load the compost mechanically. Find more details here.

Hazardous Waste

We published a guide on disposing of hazardous waste earlier this year. Read it here.


Help the Earth and Make $ at the Same Time

Need a little incentive to make the leap and start recycling? These scrap metals recycling centers in Birmingham will pay you for bringing in recyclable materials:

Brother’s Recycling

1620 Vanderbilt Rd., Birmingham, AL 35234 | 205-328-4283
Open Mon-Fri 7:15AM-4PM | Closed Sat-Sun

*Will buy all kinds of scrap metal including aluminum cans, cars, old appliances etc. Find a full list here.


Standard Iron & Metal

1933 Vanderbilt Rd., Birmingham, AL 35234 | 205-328-0538
Open Mon-Fri 7:30AM-4PM, Sat 7:30AM-noon | Closed Sun

They similarly will buy scrap metals like aluminum cans, old appliances etc. For a full list of accepted materials, check here. For details on container and pickup services, visit their site.

Steel City Recycling

2020 Vanderbilt Rd., Birmingham AL 35234 | 205-808-7284
Open Mon-Fri 7:15AM-3:45PM | Closed Sat-Sun


For a list of accepted materials and more service details, visit their site.

Local Birmingham Beer Cans
Like we needed any excuse to drink more local beer. If you pick some up from the store, make sure you recycle the cans! You might even be able to make some $$$ if you save enough. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

Rather Recycling

323 Finley Blvd., Birmingham AL 35204 | 205-224-4044
Open Mon-Fri 7:30 AM-4:30PM, Sat 7:30AM-2PM | Closed Sun

Visit their site for pickup details.


CMC Recycling

3431 27th Ave. N, Birmingham, AL 35207 | 205-321-1177
Open Mon-Fri 7:30AM-4PM | Closed M-F 12-12:30PM for Lunch + Sat-Sun

EXPRESS: If you have small amounts of scrap metal, you can visit the Recycling Express area. This area is for customers with less than 500 lbs of material and access is separate from the industrial area with staff ready to walk you through the scrap metal selling process. Visit their site for more info.

Still Have Questions?👇

That was a lot—we know. If you still have questuions, feel free to email us (hello@bhamnow.com). For more resources, check the Alabama Environmental Council’s site! It has tons of great information, including this Recycle Alabama Search Engine, where you can search by type of material, zip code and distance to find the most convenient drop off site.


This guide is being continually updated! Let us know what we missed on social @BhamNow!