Recycling at schools has never been easier, especially paper. We no longer have to separate office paper from newspaper or junk mail and ALL non-food paper products can now go into one bin. With paper products making up 41% of the municipal solid waste stream, it's great to know that the recycling process has been simplified. In 2015, Alabama Environmental Council (AEC) assisted 29 area schools recycle approximately 140 tons of paper and cardboard through its Business Paper Recycling Program.

ADEM Recycle Fund grants have purchased and will provide recycling bins for free to schools located in Jefferson County. This includes bins for individual classrooms and larger bins for copy/office/break rooms to collect paper. In 2016, bins will be purchased for mixed recycling of plastic and cans.

AEC hopes to make recycling in your school more convenient by providing a pick-up service in the Birmingham area and helping to connect you to another hauler if you are outside of our service area. We recognize that many schools would like to recycle their paper, but simply do not have the staff and resources to haul the paper to a recycling facility. To make the program easy for participants, we can pick up your paper on an as-needed basis or on a scheduled route.

There's also the possibility to collect and recycling other materials like plastic bottles and cans. This is a new component of our program but several schools are already successfully expanding their programs. Some continue to utilize AEC's pick-up while others partner with local recycling haulers.

Because every school is different, we can customize a recycling program that best fits your needs. 

Schools who choose to participate will receive the following benefits:

  • Recycling presentations for your students, faculty, and staff;
  • A potential decrease in your waste hauling fees and conservation of landfill space;
  • Free recycling bins for classrooms and other spaces in the school;
  • Advertising tools including window decals to promote your participation in the program and demonstrate your commitment to environmental protection;
  • Listing on as a participating partner;
  • Help move Alabama closer to achieving our statewide recycling goals.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What paper products can I recycle?

  • Basically, if it tears and hasn't touched food, you can recycle it. This includes office paper, newspaper, paperboard, books, magazines, shredded paper in a sealed bag, brochures, envelopes, construction paper, catalogs, cardboard, and more.

What paper products cannot be recycled?

  • Paper that is soiled or has touched food, juice boxes, milk cartons, laminated paper, foam project boards, and 3-ring binders cannot be recycled in this program.

What about envelope windows, paper clips, staples, and spiral binding?

  • There is no need to separate these items. All of these items will be removed through the recycling process.

Does this service offer document destruction?

  • No, this program is intended for non-confidential paper recycling. However, if you shred it, then we can recycle it.

How big of a geographic area does AEC offer this program?

  • At this time, this program is offered for businesses and institutions in the Birmingham area. We bring all materials to our Downtown Recycling Center, so currently we serve about a 10 mile radius of downtown.

Did you know?

  • More than 40% of the 180 million tons of trash Americans dump annually is paper. The single largest component in landfills is high-grade printing, copying, and writing paper.

  • Americans throw away enough office and writing paper each year to build a 12 foot wall stretching from New York to Los Angeles.

  • Every day American Businesses use enough paper to circle the Earth 20 times.

  • A paper mill uses 40% less energy to make paper from recycled paper than it does to make paper from virgin trees. Therefore, recycling 1 ton of newsprint saves about 4,000 KWh of Electricity – enough energy to heat and air condition the average North American home for about six months.