Did you know that the Athens-Limestone Recycling Center is the oldest non-profit recycling center in the state? Yes, I said “non-profit”; Athens-Limestone Recycling Center is a division of Keep Athens-Limestone Beautiful, a 501c3 nonprofit.
Even though it began over 35 years ago, there is still the misconception that it is owned by either the City of Athens or Limestone County. The Recycling Center does receive a lot of support from both the City of Athens and Limestone County for which we are very grateful, and we could not provide all the services that we do without their support.
It started in 1977 with the collecting of cardboard and aluminum cans as a fund raising project for the Athens High School Science Club. The project was such a success that the Science Club continued its existence for another three years. In 1981, Athens- Limestone Clean Community, which would later become Keep Athens-Limestone Beautiful, assumed responsibility for the program and we began operations as a full-fledged business. The facility has grown from accepting two items to a multi-material recycling/processing facility.
Athens-Limestone Recycling Center carries the name of the COMMUNITY that we are very honored and proud to serve. We are here to provide the community with the best recycling services that we can; part of those service are our 24/7 drop off bins at 15896 Lucas Ferry Rd., Athens, Alabama. At this location we are also available Monday – Friday from 7:00 am – 3:30 pm for residents to drop off electronics, books and other items that are not intended to go in bins outside.
We also have Community Collections Centers throughout Limestone County to make recycling more convenient for our residents. The Recycling Center provides free recycling services to all 24 of our schools, both public and private. We also service our two colleges and over 300 businesses in Athens and Lime- stone County.
Material collected at our Community Collection Centers are container plastics, newspaper, office paper, junk mail, magazines, aluminum and steel cans, glass bottles and jars. Within the last year we were able to add cardboard collection. Thanks to the support of the Limestone County Commission and various grants, we were able to purchase additional trailers to collect cardboard at these locations.
Material collected in our drop- off bins at our Lucas Ferry location are container plastics, cardboard, newspaper, office paper,?junk mail, magazines, aluminum and steel cans, glass bottles and jars, grocery bags, cooking oil and motor oil. During office hours we also accept books, electronics, batteries, and metals.
The Recycling Center often handles materials for no profit and sometimes even at a loss... that is the nature of a community service organization. Our goal from the beginning was to divert as much material as possible from the local landfills, to work in conjunction with the City of Athens and Limestone County to increase the recycling rate in our community, and to help eliminate litter to the extent possible.
Often times, material is left at the Recycling Center that is not recyclable at our facility and we then have to absorb the cost of proper disposal of these items. Examples of these are Styrofoam, hard plastic toys, tarps, PVC piping, mirrors, window glass, ceramic dishes, windshields, fluorescent bulbs, clothes, mattresses, wood, yard waste, hazardous waste items, medical waste such as dialysis tubing and insulin needles, paint and tires. Tires can be recycled at any of the County District Sheds.
For more information on these materials or any recycling questions, please don’t hesitate to call the Recycling Center at 256-233-8746.
The success of Athens-Lime- stone Recycling Center is only because of the support that we have received from the community we proudly serve. Your support has not gone unnoticed or unappreciated. On behalf of the Recycling Board and myself, I thank you for your support.
Because of your efforts we recycled, processed and shipped 2,155 tons of material last year. This material was not only kept out of the landfill, it also helped to support 10 jobs at the Recycling Center, ultimately adding to the economy of the City of Athens and Limestone County.
I encourage you to “Recycle It, Don’t Trash It!” and remember your 3 R’s: REDUCE, REUSE and RECYCLE.
By: Ruby McCartney, Plant Manager, Athens-Limestone Recycling Center