Recycling 101 For Limestone County

By: Claire Tribble

Recycling in Limestone County isn’t what it once was; however, it is growing every day! The closure of the Athens-Limestone Recycling Center was a blow to all of Limestone County, but thankfully the Limestone County Commission has started a recycling program. While curbside recycling for Athens City residents did not change, many recycling options were lost. The Limestone County Commission and Keri Chalmers are working diligently to grow this program for Limestone County residents. The current setup is a drop off location only, but there is a groundbreaking ceremony for the new facility on March 19, 2024, 10 a.m. at 1301 North Jefferson Street.

Currently, the drop-off location is open Monday-Thursday 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. If the gates are open on a Friday, you are more than welcome to stop in and drop your recycling. They accept plastics #1 & #2 (items like drink, shampoo, and detergent bottles), aluminum cans, steel cans, mixed papers, and cardboard. A new service that is being offered is USED MOTOR OIL recycling! There is a large white tank in the lot, and you are welcome to leave your containers to be emptied and then ethically disposed of. If you choose to empty your own containers, please be sure to put the cap back on the tank!

When the Athens-Limestone Recycling Center closed, we lost the option to recycle glass in Limestone County. Currently, the only option for recycling glass is with Phoenix Glass Recycling of North Alabama. They are located in Huntsville. Check out their Facebook page or website at for details on their process. Glass recycling is very important for the environment. Glass NEVER breaks down, nor does it ever lose quality. It can be recycled infinitely.

There are options for recycling other items as well. Harmon Scrap Metal on Highway 72 accepts all forms of metal for recycling. They pay per pound of materials brought it. Just last week, they were paying $9.50 per 100 pounds. And they accept everything from aluminum to wrought iron. All of these metals are separated and then melted down to be made into something new. We use 80,000,000,000 aluminum cans every year. There are 350,000 aluminum cans made in the world EVERY MINUTE. And aluminum takes 200-500 years to decompose. A recycled can goes from your recycling bin to being back on the shelf in 6 weeks.

Electronics are full of precious metals and plastic. You can take small electronics such as computers, computer accessories, and cell phones to Staples for recycling at any time for free. To recycle larger items such as flat screen and plasma televisions, call Keri Chalmers at 256-871-0674. The old box televisions are only accepted at the Household Hazardous Waste collection hosted by KALB and the Limestone County Commission. They will not be picked up in bulk trash or accepted at the transfer station because they contain mercury.

Plastic bags are another popular item. It takes 1,000 years for a plastic bag to decompose at the landfill. These are especially dangerous to the environment because they travel fast and far. Wildlife is greatly affected by the littering of a plastic bag. They not only can eat them and have them tangled in their digestive track, but they can be strangled by them as well. Many products are made from recycled plastic bags. Trex uses them to manufacture plastic lumber. We actually have a bench outside of our office that is made by Trex. And let me tell you, it is the definition of sturdy and heavy.

Pak Mail on Forrest Street accepts several different items for recycling. They accept Styrofoam packaging peanuts, bubble wrap, plastic air pockets, and the packaging paper. It is very important to get as much use out of these items as possible because only the packing paper breaks down. And all of it is lightweight, so it travels fast and far like plastic bags.

We can help make Limestone County better in so many ways. Recycling is a major benefit to Limestone County. It will create more jobs which benefits everyone. It will cut down on waste in our landfills. It will cut down on the litter that seems to cover our roadways these days. It will reduce the number of raw materials mined for making new products. So, fill your blue bins and the trailers at the Limestone County Recycling Drop Off. It will help everyone and everything!

By: Claire Tribble – Executive Director, Keep Athens-Limestone Beautiful