Birmingham, Irondale & Shelby County awarded $1.1M+ in recycling grants

ADEM Recycling
ADEM Director Lance LeFleur, and city of Birmingham representatives Sade McClaney and Josh Yates ( Pat Byington/Bham Now)

Birmingham, Irondale and Shelby County were awarded nearly $1,138,319 in recycling grants from the  Alabama Department of Environmental Management‘s (ADEM) Alabama Recycling Fund (ARF). 

Last week, a check presentation was held at the annual Alabama Recycling Coalition Conference & Expo in Pelham.

Read on to learn more about the grants and the statewide fund.

250 recycling grants since 2008

Established in 2008, ADEM has awarded over 250 recycling grants totaling more than $30M. This year, the agency awarded 37 Alabama communities within three different categories, grants totaling about $7.5 million.

The grants pay for the following:

  • Collection equipment
  • Educational materials
  • Processing equipment
  • Other needs of local recycling programs.  

The funding benefits local communities and households throughout the state, and enables Alabama to continue to achieve statewide waste reduction and recycling goals.

Local Birmingham area grants

ADEM Recycling
ADEM Director Lance LeFleur and Irondale Mayor James Stewart (Pat Byington/Bham Now)

One of the largest Fiscal Year 2024 grants given was to the City of Birmingham. The Magic City received a whooping $752,931.

“What we’re  trying to do is build a more robust recycling program than we have today. Currently, our citizens put recyclables on the curb with bags and boxes or in a bin that they may have received a long long long time ago. We’re looking at purchasing a truck and recycling bins.”

Josh Yates, Director of Public Works, City of Birmingham

Yates told Bham Now that the city of Birmingham is pursuing an additional recycling grant funding from the EPA. Along with the recycling infrastructure improvements, a portion of the ADEM grant is dedicated toward recycling education.

Similarly, the city of Irondale and Shelby County grants are geared toward recycling infrastructure and education. Here is their grant totals:

  • Irondale Recycling  Grant— $283,698
  • Shelby County Commission—  $101,590

Why does recycling matter to communities like Birmingham and surrounding communities? Yates summed it up best.

“We run and operate our own landfills. The less we put in there, the less need to have to build more units (landfills). The more we can get into recycling the less we have to send to our landfill.”

Josh Yates, Director of Public Works, City of Birmingham

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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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