West Alabama Recycling Partnership has been selected to receive grant funds from  Alabama Department of Environmental Management to expand recycling programs.

The West Alabama Recycling Partnership, consists of the City of Tuscaloosa, Tuscaloosa County, the University of Alabama and the Tuscaloosa County Park and Recreation Authority.

The $213,606 grant will fund a large paper shredder for the University of Alabama, ballpark recycling containers for PARA, and glass recycling equipment for the City of Tuscaloosa.

UA requested the paper shredder to help optimize the recycling methods at its on campus recycling center. By increasing the efficiency of their paper recycling process, they will be able to collect more recyclables throughout campus.

The grant funds slated for PARA will purchase 30 recycling containers that will be placed at the ball fields throughout Tuscaloosa. Last year’s ADEM grant funded recycling containers inside of the PARA facilities.

The remainder of the grant award will go toward establishing a drop-off glass recycling program in Tuscaloosa with the purchase of a glass pulverizer and a drop off collection system.

The glass pulverizer will tumble and crush glass bottles and jars into glass mulch, gravel and sand. Pulverized glass and sand can be used in industrial applications like roadbed projects, pipe insulation, walkways and parking lots, as well as decorative projects such as flowerbed mulch and in aquariums. The glass pulverizer will be installed and operated by the City’s Environmental Services Department on Kauloosa Avenue.

Glass will be collected in separate glass only drop-off containers. Due to safety and environmental hazards broken glass presents, glass will not be collected in the blue curbside recycling bins or inside the existing blue drop-off recycling trailers. Glass drop-off container locations are to be determined but will be included with some of the current blue drop-off recycling trailers in Tuscaloosa.

City of Tuscaloosa's director of environmental services Shane Daugherty said,

Having a glass recycling option for city and county residents has been one our department’s goals since the recycling program began nearly 15 years ago. Glass is a difficult material to handle in our area due to the distance to the closest traditional glass recycling processor. This grant gives us the ability to use the glass locally in Tuscaloosa, not only keeping the glass from being landfilled, but offsetting the cost of materials such as sand and gravel that it will replace in certain projects.

The City of Tuscaloosa Environmental Services Department has received grant money each year since the ADEM Recycling Fund was established in 2009, leading to more than $1.5 million being invested by the State for recycling in the Tuscaloosa area in the past five years.

The City can begin purchasing the pulverizer and associated equipment on Oct. 1 and expects to begin recycling glass by spring 2015.

For more information about recycling in Tuscaloosa, call Tuscaloosa 311 or visit the Environmental Services Department website.