Not Enough Trash to Recycle in Montgomery

Mar 14, 2017

Montgomery's now-shuttered recycling facility
Credit Lloyd Gallman / Montgomery Advertiser

Municipal officials can lose sleep over the volume of trash that residents produce, but those in Montgomery have the opposite problem. They say the city isn’t producing enough trash to sustain a citywide recycling program.

Montgomery has a similar population size to three other major Alabama cities, Huntsville , Birmingham and Mobile. But the Montgomery Advertiser reports that the capital city is the only one without a recycling program and the only one with any doubts about its ability to maintain one.

The city owns a recycling facility, but it’s been closed for nearly a year and a half after a private company suspended operations there. Montgomery residents have been living without any recycling services since then.

Montgomery’s city finance director Barry Crabb says the mixed recycling facility needed about 150,000 tons of trash a year to operate. In its last year running, it only received around 78,000 tons from the city and another 24,000 from areas around Montgomery as well as north Florida.

Other companies have looked at the possibility of reopening Montgomery's recycling center, but all say the numbers just don't add up. One plan, proposed by the Southeast Recycling Development Council, would assign a 28-county hub funneling an estimated 142,000 tons of recyclables to the facility. But so far, that recommendation has not been considered by an incoming company.