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City looks at new recycle program

At the recycle meeting, from left, Mayor Jim Staff, Celia Lambert, Jim Roberts

With Atmore’s recycling program recently shut down, Mayor Jim Staff and Executive Assistant Celia Lambert have been researching alternatives, including visits to various facilities.

Wednesday evening, December 13, the facility came to Atmore as Jim Roberts, public information officer with Emerald Coast Utilities Authority (ECUA) in Pensacola, held an open meeting at Atmore City Hall. More than 30 people attended, including a number of city employees with the street department. Also attending were Kristi Weatherford, Environmental Director, and Sarah Mills, Environmental Technician, with the Poarch Band of Creek Indians

Staff and Lambert had previously toured ECUA and invited Roberts to hold the meeting as a means of educating the public if the city enters into an agreement with the company.

“We’ve got some learning to do,” Staff said. “We need to educate folks so we won’t get in the situation we were in last time.”

The problem with any recycling program seems to be contamination. In his power point presentation, Roberts talked about maintaining the integrity of recyclables and the damage to equipment that can occur when non-recyclable items are present.

Roberts presented the following on what is and is not recyclable at ECUA.

What is recyclable – glass (any color), newspaper and inserts, cardboard, magazines and catalogs, junk mail and envelopes, paper bags and phone books, colored papers, aluminum cans and lids, metal pots and pans, pet food cans, plastic produce clamshells, plastic milk jugs, cereal boxes, foil baking pans, cardboard egg cartons, dry pet food bags, pizza boxes, tin foil, plastic bottles, plastics 1-7 (recycling symbols are found on plastic containers).
What is not recyclable – empty plastic bags, bedding or linens, juice boxes and bags, garbage or yard waste, window blinds, tarps, bubble wrap, waxy / paper food containers (milk and ice cream cartons, etc.), plastic and metal hangers, aerosol cans, polystyrene (StyroFoam) products, garden hoses, carpeting or rugs, construction materials, food waste.

At the end of Roberts’ presentation, Lambert said the city is considering the following. A recycle trailer will be located inside the street department area on Ridgeley Street, next to the area where the recycle bins were previously located. Tentative plans are for the trailer to be accessible weekdays.

The city will give each household a transparent green bag for recyclables. When the bag is turned in at the street department, an employee will check the contents of the bag. If there are non-recyclables in the bag, it will be refused and returned to the resident. If the contents are recyclable, the bag will be accepted and another green bag issued. The city will pay for transporting recyclables to the ECUA facility.

Lambert said the city’s new recycle program may start in January. She stressed that there will be no increase in fees for Atmore residents.