Alabama Environmental Council no longer taking glass to recycle

If you include glass in your recycling bin and you live in Jefferson county, stop. Due to a lack of demand, the state's oldest nonprofit recycling center can no longer collect glass.

All the glass the Alabama Environmental Council would have been sent to a company in Calera and broken down into cement. That company no longer uses glass in their cement formula, which means the glass has no place to go for now.

Workers hope someone will step up and help out soon.

Scott Russpatrick is the recycling operator for the Alabama Environmental Council. His interactions with people are usually pleasant. But having to break the news that the AEC is not taking glass has been tough. "So it's a big change of pace from having really positive interactions from people coming down, having nice conversations about recycling and people being glad we're here, to now we're more limited," said Russpatrick.

For a decade, local cement manufacturer, Argos, paid to take the glass to use in cement. They recently changed the formula.

AEC executive director, Michael Churchman, says the center is in need of another company to step in and fill the void.

"We just have to look for another industrial partner, another way to recycle the glass," said Churchman.

The AEC typically fills a forty-yard roll-off once a week. That's some fifty tons of glass each month. For the past few weeks, AEC has shipped the glass to a recycling company in Atlanta. But that has become costly. "It's a pretty costly affair unfortunately and it takes a pretty big industrial process that, as you can see we just don't have the space and the equipment to do something like that," said Churchman.

The AEC encourages people to hold on to glass as long as possible. If it is brought to the downtown recycling site much of it could end up in a landfill. "Unfortunately, yeah it will be thrown away. It really hurts me to say that because we're in the business of recycling.and glass is one of those things, when you throw glass away it's a rock, it's not like paper or any other material that will break down over time. It's just going to sit there," said Russpatrick.

Russpatrick says the nearest recycling centers that collect{} glass are in Albertville, Guntersville and Auburn.

Churchman says some companies have shown interest in helping. They hope to have a new partner within the next few weeks. However, the issue could go on for as long as a year.

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