Birmingham to suspend most curbside recycling after April 8 pickup

Alabama recycling
Alabama recycling
Recycling truck at the Alabama Environmental Council. The AEC recycling center closed in January of 2019. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

At the Birmingham City Council Meeting today, Mayor Woodfin announced that curbside recycling will be temporarily suspended after the Wednesday, April 8th citywide pickup. 

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the mayor described challenges the city’s Public Works Department now face, including workers having to work in close proximity to each other during a pandemic and a significant increase in the volume of trash.

Staying at Home Produces More Trash

Alabama Environmental Council Recycling Center
A new pilot recycling program called City Haul is about to be launched on April 1, 2020. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

Regarding waste collection, since the beginning of the lockdown, Public Works has seen a significant increase in the volume of materials that is put out by residents to be collected. Staying at home has resulted in more household waste.  

In order to reduce the strain on Public Work workers the mayor has temporarily suspended curbside recycling pickup on Wednesday and moved to a 4 days a week, 10 hours a day, work schedule.

“In terms of cutting back to ease the burden of our city workers this is the easiest thing to do,” stated City Councilor Darrell O’Quinn. “This is not a statistic anyone is proud of, but we don’t have widespread participation in curbside recycling in the city of Birmingham.“

According to O’Quinn, Birmingham Recycling and Recovery, the business that takes Birmingham’s recyclables estimate recycling participation in the city is less than 1%.

City Haul Continues

Recyclables everywhere at the Avondale Recycling Center. Photo from the Alabama Environmental Council Facebook page.

City Haul, a new pilot curbside recycling program that was launched on April 1 will continue as planned. Here are the neighborhoods that are part of the project (the service is offered along routes. In most cases it serves most of the neighborhoods – not the entire neighborhood).

Roebuck

Forest Park

Crestwood South, 

East Avondale 

Woodland Park 

The program is scheduled to last six months. About 2800 96-gallon refuse bins were distributed last week to households. Trash and recycling pickup service within the boundaries are now both once a week.

Where Can You Send Your Recyclables?

Alabama Conservancy Recycling Center Birmingham Alabama
The Alabama Environmental Council’s (Alabama Conservancy) Recycling Center in 1991

So, where can you recycle after April 8th?

Birmingham Recycling and Recovery at 9 41st Street South in Avondale already takes Birmingham’s recyclables.  That means whatever you put out at the curbside today, you can drop off at the center. The items?

What’s the Future of Recycling?

This is another big blow for recycling in Birmingham.  The future most likely depends on the success of the new City Haul program.

Stay tuned.

  • Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.