Recycling Creates Industrial Jobs in the Valley

FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) – Many residents across north-west Alabama has grown used to placing their recycled materials on the curb for pick-up or they’re using community recycling trailers.

The holidays bring in mounds of recycled materials into processing plants, but did you know that those bottles and boxes are giving residents jobs?

It’s a route that Rex Michael is getting used to; Michael is in charge of bringing the community recycling trailers from the town of Killen to Florence Recycling for processing.

“This will be the tenth trailer from last week and this week together,” said Michael.

As Rex Michael unhooks his trailer, workers at the recycling plant sort mounds of bottles and paper products.

Florence Recycling spokesperson Rachel Mansell says these recycled materials will be headed back out the door almost as quickly as they came in.

“There are five different industries with-in a forty mile radius of Florence that relies on recycled materials,” explained Mansell.

A few of those companies include SCA Tissue in Barton, Nucor Steel in Decatur, Wise Alloys in Muscle Shoals and Custom Polymer in Athens.

Mansell says each company buys the materials that are brought in; giving the cardboard and plastic bottles a new purpose.

“These industries rely on recycled feed stock to produce, and of course employ local people,” said Mansell. “So these materials that are saved from the landfill, they get a new life and it also helps our economy.”

Mansell says in the twenty five year history of recycling in Florence, it has seen its largest growth over the past five years.