FLORENCE — The Florence Recycling Department received a boost Thursday that will help it provide additional carts and equipment.
The department received a check for more than $113,000 from the Alabama Department of Environmental Management, which was awarded through the Alabama Recycling Fund.
The money will go toward additional 96-gallon roll carts and 16-gallon bins with lids, as well as a nearly $30,000 forklift for the Florence Recycle Center and a $16,729 half-ton pickup for the town of Rogersville’s recycling efforts.
The 96-gallon carts will be used for increased collections in Lauderdale County, and the 16-gallon bins will be placed in classrooms, offices and buildings throughout the University of North Alabama, officials said.
ADEM environmental scientist Cody Ennis said Florence is among 16 applicants to receive Alabama Recycling Funds this year totaling $1.4 million.
Legislation in 2008 created the fund, which is paid through a fee of $1 per ton on solid waste disposed in Alabama landfills, Ennis said.
In awarding the grant, ADEM officials also congratulated Florence on the success of its recycling program.
David Koonce, manager of Florence’s Street, Solid Waste and Recycling departments, said the program began in 1988 with conveyors provided by the U.S. Postal Service and a worker who scooped recyclables onto it.
Koonce said it has grown through a collaboration of entities.
“All of you as partners have worked to create what we have here,” he said. “All of you are a part of it, most of all the citizens for taking a minute to recycle.”
Councilwoman Michelle Eubanks, who is chairwoman of the council’s Public Works Department, said the involvement of the community is evident when driving through neighborhoods.
“On pickup days in your community, you’re as likely to see recycling bins as you are garbage bins, and that’s what makes this program so successful,” Eubanks said.
Mayor Steve Holt said the collection of partnerships has been essential.
“Thank you for supporting us, and we know we’re going to make you proud,” Holt told ADEM officials.
“The success of the Florence Recycling Program combines the efforts of state and local leadership, our residents, school systems and businesses,” he added. “This cooperation has built a successful recycling program that supplies local manufacturers with raw materials supporting our local economy.”
Council President Dick Jordan said former Councilwoman Jean Gay Mussleman, who died in 2019, was a vital part of the recycling program’s creation.
“Jean Gay was the driving force,” Jordan said. “She was a pioneer.”