In 2006, 1,431,980 pounds of material were recycled at the AEC's Birmingham recycling center alone. Reduce, Re-use, Recycle is more than just a catchy slogan. It saves landfill space, as well as costs with dumping. It utilizes materials that have already been extracted and refined. And, in most cases, it takes less energy to create something from recycled materials than from virgin materials.
Recycling is the third R of the three R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Recycling means taking a product or material at the end of its useful life and turning it into a usable raw material to make another product. This section of our site provides information about how to recycle, why to recycle and what you can recycle. And of course the Earth 911 green recycling locator box above can help you find where you can recycle. Just type in what you want to recycle on the left side and where on the right side by entering your zip code or city and state.
Recycling Facts & Figures
- In 1999, recycling and composting activities prevented about 64 million tons of material from ending up in landfills and incinerators. Today, this country recycles 32 percent of its waste, a rate that has almost doubled during the past 15 years.
- While recycling has grown in general, recycling of specific materials has grown even more drastically: 50 percent of all paper, 34 percent of all plastic soft drink bottles, 45 percent of all aluminum beer and soft drink cans, 63 percent of all steel packaging, and 67 percent of all major appliances are now recycled.
- Twenty years ago, only one curbside recycling program existed in the United States, which collected several materials at the curb. By 2005, almost 9,000 curbside programs had sprouted up across the nation. As of 2005, about 500 materials recovery facilities had been established to process the collected materials.
Recycling at the AEC
The Alabama Environmental Council organized and still runs the oldest nonprofit recycling center in the state. It processes about 600 tons of newspaper, glass, plastic, aluminum, mixed paper and cardboard a year. We helped launch curbside recycling programs around the state, promote recycling education in schools and low-income communities, and operate a recycling hotline.
Toll Free Recycling Hotline: 1-800-982-4364.
The AEC downtown Birmingham recycling center is located at 2431 2nd Avenue North and is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Helpful brochures and staff are available to make the center more user-friendly.