New recycling program coming to Madison County

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- Residents of Huntsville and Madison are accustomed to putting trash in a big green cart and recyclables in a small blue bin. All of that could be changing soon, thanks to a new program called the Recycling Alliance of North Alabama.

The 18-gallon blue bins that you're used to will be replaced with a cart that's five times larger. It will be able to hold 95-96 gallons of recyclables.

And right now, recyclables are picked up once a week, curbside, for about 105,000 residents, according to Doc Holladay, Huntsville's Solid Waste Disposal Authority's Executive Director.

With the new carts, the schedule will change to once a month. This will add an additional 20,000 households to the route.

"Roughly, we'll be able to pick up about twice the amount of recyclables today," says Holladay. "Maybe two and a half times as much as we collect in the existing program."

The new program will be an "opt-in" system meaning you will need to contact SWDA to get a new recycling cart.

"We don't want to pay for a lot of bins and actually waste a lot of resources on people that don't want a bin," says Holladay.

You will be able to sign up for the program either online or by phone soon.

For those who don't want one of the new carts... Be warned: your old blue bins will no longer be picked up when the program begins.

"The average driver has to get in and out of the truck about 600 to 700 times a day to collect those bins," Holladay says. "So we are trying to automate the system to make it not only more efficient but safer and less wear and tear on the employees getting in and out of the trucks."

Your first recycle bin will be free of charge. If you want more than one cart, a fee may be required.

The new carts are expected to roll out in August.

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