Birmingham Recycling and Recovery fire a “devastating blow” to local recycling efforts

Birmingham recycling
Day after Birmingham Recycling and Recovery Warhouse fire (Pat Byington/Bham Now)

The Wednesday night fire at Birmingham Recycling and Recovery in Avondale will have a devastating impact on recycling in the Birmingham area. 

At around 9PM a fire broke out at the recycling processing complex located on 41st Avenue South in the Avondale neighborhood. Bham Now was on the scene the evening of the fire and the morning after.

Message from the Company

In a message to Bham Now from Birmingham Recycling and Recovery, they confirmed the fire damage centered around the warehouse, but the plant side is fine. They will start rebuilding as soon as possible.The cause of the fire is under investigation.

It is too early to know how long the destruction will delay local recycling programs.

Huge Setback

Avondale Fire
Birmingham Recycling and Recovery Fire, May 4, 2023 at 9:43PM (Sam Modder)

According to local officials in Birmingham and Homewood the fire is a major setback for recycling in the region.

Birmingham Recycling & Recovery has served an important function for the region as one of the leading processors of recyclable materials, including those collected curbside for many municipalities,” Birmingham City Councilor Darrell O’Quinn told Bham Now. The recycling facility is located in his district.

“My heart goes out to the staff and employees who must now find a path forward in the wake of this devastation. This is also clearly a huge setback for the City of Birmingham in more ways than one. Especially as efforts are underway to modernize Birmingham’s waste collection systems, one has to wonder how this disaster alters our goal to divert waste destined for landfills. The destruction of BRR’s facility will surely make a huge challenge even more complicated.”

Regional Cooperation Needed

Avondale Recycling Center
Day after Birmingham Recycling and Recovery Warhouse fire (Pat Byington/Bham Now)

Homewood Councilor Jennifer Andress stressed the need for  regional cooperation especially following the aftermath of the recycling center fire.

“We need to come together as a region to address what is now going to be a devastating blow to our recycling efforts, which were already limited in scope.” 

What’s Next

Bham Now will continue to follow this emerging issue. According to local officials, curbside programs are likely to be halted while the extent of the damage caused by fire is determined.

Meanwhile, if you need a place to recycle, American Transport and Recycling, which is located at 2222 Vanderbilt Road, 35234, takes cardboard, office paper, some plastic and certain metals.

Local Target stores also take recyclables, including glass.

Stay tuned for updates from Bham Now, especially places when we find out ways residents can support recycling and Birmingham Recycling and Recovery.

Have you used the recycling center in Avondale? Tell us on social media why recycling is important to you by tagging us at @bhamnow

Pat Byington
Pat Byington

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.

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