ARAB, Ala. – The City of Arab is officially no longer going green after a four to one vote to end the recycling program at a special-called meeting Monday afternoon.
Councilman Alan Miller was the lone no vote.
Mayor Bob Joslin told News 19 low participation is one of the reasons they considered stopping the recycling program.
“Only 25% of our people actually recycle and of the 25% of the recycled material that’s collected only 40% of that is actually usable. It’s been costing us additional money to get rid of the unusable recycling material,” said Joslin.
Ronny Shumate, the Commissioner for District One, spoke up after the vote about the issues he had experienced with the recycling program including people disposing of animal carcasses in the bins.
Afterwards there was heated debate between Mayor Joslin and resident Sharon Barron Burke.
“I would consider moving because this is an issue that really is so important for the future of our country. Landfills are full, we’re a wasteful society and we have to do better,” said Barron Burke. “Recycling is the future. It’s what we have to do.”
Barron Burke said she did not start out as what she calls a “good recycler” and knows firsthand that education is key in preventing some of the problems discussed at the meeting.
“We have some people that are die-hard recyclers and they do it correctly but their next-door neighbor may throw a ketchup bottle in the bin and you damage the whole truck so the whole truck is contaminated,” added Joslin.
Joslin said he believes the council made the right decision for right now, but they’re still trying to find alternatives for the dedicated recyclers in town.
“Maybe just have one day a week where people can bring their recyclables and have it monitored so we know we’re actually getting things that are useable,” explained Joslin.
By removing the recycling, residents will save $1.50 on each bill as opposed to bills increasing by $2.50.