FLORENCE, Ala. – Changes are taking place in Lauderdale County. Services to keep materials out of the landfills and put them back on the market are advancing with technology.

The mound is ever-growing. The entire pile at the Florence Recycling Center is made up of discarded items that were either picked up on your curb or at businesses.

“People love it. They love to play a part. It may be a small part, but it is a very positive thing that we do,” explained Florence Recycling Director David Koonce about the program.

And the numbers don’t lie, there is a 25% increase in recycling participation across Lauderdale County every year. This latest piece of equipment will help the recycling center sustain the growth.

“It separates fiber, which is paper, from containers which are jugs and bottles,” said Koonce. “That’s a big deal. That saves manpower and it will allow us to sort better and cleaner.”

The automated line also removes debris from the mix. And when you are talking 6.4-million pounds a year of materials, workers’ hands can only do so much.

An amazing facet of the whole recycling circle is the bottles and cardboard which go into the blue bins at your house are keeping people employed across north Alabama.

“A lot of our material stays close to Florence,” stated Koonce. “Within about a 50-mile radius, people like Essity (formerly SCA Tissue), Custom Polymers in Athens, are all users of the products that we make here.”

There are a total of 42 companies statewide that use recycled materials for manufacturing. And the quicker Florence Recycling can sort these items, the faster they can be put back into the market.

The new sorting line at Florence Recycling is funded through a grant by The Alabama Department of Environmental Management.