Foley votes to continue recycling program


FOLEY - Foley council voted to renew the agreement currently held with ECUA for recyclables. Though the cost has increased and recycling is becoming a challenge, the council doesn’t want to do away with their recycling program out of concern that restarting it would be difficult. After China stopped accepting recyclables, disposing of items has become problematic with more and more companies refusing to take certain items. A recycling problem is now occurring across the nation, and Foley is actively seeking a solution.

“People need to understand where we are on this issue, which is not just an issue for us but all across the country,” said councilmember Ralph Hellmich. “I know there’s a place in Troy, Alabama, that can take all the recycling that Alabama generates, but the problem is you’ve got to get it there which is going to cost a lot of money.”

There has been discussions within the county of a possible solution, and Hellmich believes other solutions will appear in the future.

“It’s unfortunate that the world market has been thrown in turmoil, but I think that we’re going to be seeing people stepping in to fill that void for disposal,” Hellmich said. “If there’s money that can be made, then I think you’ll see people doing that, it’s just going to take a little time. You can recover the cost of recycling aluminum and steel, but you can’t recover anything off of glass. Plastic depends on the price of oil, which is unfortunate because we need to recycle all the plastic we can.”

Recently the county commission was approached by Solid Waste Director Terri Graham with discussions of a potential recycling facility at the county landfill, allowing the municipalities to bring recyclables there for disposal. The discussion is still in early stages, with no immediate vote planned.

“If that were to happen then even if the county prices were the same as our current contract it would save us money on fuel and labor time because it’s closer,” said City Administrator Mike Thompson.

Before any vote can be taken, the county will need a study to determine if a county recycling facility is cost effective. Equipment and personnel will need to be taken into consideration as well. Foley councilmembers expressed interest in forming a partnership between the county and other municipalities in the future were a county recycling facility feasible, and invite any citizens who have suggestions on combating the recycling issue to let the city know.