Public Improvements Committee receives update on recycling pilot program
On Tuesday, the Birmingham City Council’s Public Improvements Committee received an update on the City’s proposed recycling pilot program, City Haul.
The target launch date for the recycling program is April 1, 2020 and will service five neighborhoods across five districts — Roebuck, Forest Park, Crestwood South, East Avondale and Woodland Park. The pilot program will last six months and will feature 2,800 96-gallon refuse bins and 2,800 64-gallon recycle bins that will be distributed to the households within the footprint of the pilot boundaries.
Instead of having trash picked up twice a week, households within the new boundary will have trash and recycling pickup service once a week. However, the larger bins will allow for more trash and recycling to be placed in the secure containers that will prevent animals and inclement weather conditions from spilling their contents.
As it stands, less than 1% of trash that is thrown away in Birmingham is recycled. The goal of this new program is to have 25% or more recycled in the next 10 years. The initial cost of the program will be $247,000 for the purchase of the bins, which will be equipped with GPS chips to monitor their location and prevent theft.
Councilor Crystal Smitherman has been a champion for recycling efforts since taking office in 2019. She believes a major component of the new recycling program has to center around educating the public.
“The biggest thing should be the education piece because a lot of people need to know how to recycle,” Smitherman said. “There are certain things you can recycle. I just heard from a lady that said ‘I really want to recycle but I don’t know what I should recycle and what I should throw away.’ Anybody can still recycle, but this pilot will be for certain streets because of the routes and based on the budget we have…We can actually make money from recycling as well.”
There will be details of what can and cannot be recycled on the new bins that are distributed. The households that fall outside the pilot boundaries will not be impacted and trash and recycling pickup will continue without interruption.
The item dealing with the funding for the new recycling program is expected to come before the Budget and Finance Committee on Monday.