GULF SHORES — A state grant being considered for Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Foley could help build a new recycling center for all of Baldwin County, Gulf Shores officials said.The three …
GULF SHORES — A state grant being considered for Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Foley could help build a new recycling center for all of Baldwin County, Gulf Shores officials said.
The three cities are being asked to request a grant through the Alabama Department of Environmental Management for $350,000. The grant would be used to buy equipment for a new Baldwin County Materials Recovery Facility, said Dan Bond, Gulf Shores environmental-grants coordinator.
"Since 2014, we've worked to improve recycling opportunities for all of our residents and visitors through the establishment of the city's recycling center, our Leave Only Footprints program, working with our city schools as well as education and outreach," Bond said. "Since 2021, Baldwin County Solid Waste has begun the process of designing a new state-of-the-art Materials Recovery Facility or MRF for short, to be located at the Magnolia Landfill that will serve the recycling needs of the entire county. This new facility will greatly improve recycling efforts for the entire county by providing a reliable processing facility for recyclable materials."
Bond said the 50,000-square-foot facility is expected to cost about $15 million. The center will also include 12,000 square feet of office space with a public outreach and education center.
"It's going to be nice, new addition to the county," Bond said.
The facility is intended to provide recycling services for the entire county, including the 14 municipalities.
Recycling materials trucks will be able to bring materials directly to the MRF, Bond said.
"This will greatly reduce the amount of material that has to be processed at our city recycling center, so it's going to improve our efficiency quite
dramatically," he said.
Bond said Gulf Shores will maintain the city drop-off locations for recyclables and the municipal recycling center.
"We will also have opportunities for events and things like that where our recycling center will be used to process that material," Bond said. "Really the main bulk of impact is on the waste haulers. They'll be able to bring their trucks to this new facility and our facility is kind of small for this kind of operation. It gets overwhelmed at times, especially in the summer. So, this will be a big help to us."
He said Baldwin County Solid Waste will manage the project. The county will process all of the purchases and invoicing and provide all the necessary documents for the grant and the cities receive the funding. Bond said no city money will be used for the project.
Councilman Steve Jones said the new facility will be a benefit to the county, particularly at a time when a new aluminum rolling mill and recycling center is being built in Bay Minette.
"This is exciting because this is going to be a real benefit to Novelis with the aluminum we're going to be sending up there," Jones said. "Probably 80% of the aluminum is going to come from our beaches so it's really exciting that the location of this is going to really implement a great advantage for them. So, that's a great way for us to help that project move along. It's big to have that in Baldwin County. I'm really excited about the future, especially for Bay Minette."