Curbside recycling coming to Miss-Lou
Many communities across the United States have been recycling for the last 20 years. Natchez is now primed and ready to join the rest of the country. Once the recycling program starts in June, we will be able to promote our region as a true “green community” that is doing its part in creating a more sustainable planet.
The opportunity to bring the latest innovation in the recycling industry, single stream recycling, to the citizens of this region is a giant step in becoming that “green” community. Two of the most recent companies to move into Adams County, Elevance and Von Drehle Paper, both promote themselves as being “green” companies, priding themselves in using recycled products in their manufacturing process.
When visitors to our beautiful city now ask, “Is recycling available in this area?” we will proudly be able to answer, “Yes!” Curbside recycling is another asset that Natchez Inc. and others can use when competing for new industries and businesses looking to expand or relocate. Single stream curbside recycling will raise the standard of living for us all!
I know that some of you reading this article will think this effort is a waste of time and that it will never work in the rural South, where some have no regard for the environment. However, over the last four months, when the two drop off locations for paper, plastic and metal recyclables were opened, there has been a steady increase in the volume of material, and the overwhelming response has been positive. We have heard countless remarks such as, “This program has been needed for a long time,” and “I am so glad you have started accepting paper and plastic. I have been driving it to my daughter’s house in Baton Rouge for the last five years.”
Over the next several months, everyone will begin hearing and seeing ads on the radio and in the newspaper promoting the recycling effort. There will be three key messages in the advertising campaign:
1. Recycling is important! (We are only borrowing this planet from future generations, so we must act now to sustain the earth)
2. Recycling is easy! (Single stream recycling only requires products be put in a single bin — no sorting of the recyclables. Simply take it to the curb on your designated recycling pick up day.)
3. Our efforts do make a difference! (Recycling the packaging of the products we consume is the single greatest way we can impact the environment we all share.)
Once the majority of the citizens in Adams County and Concordia Parish start recycling, the impact will be realized immediately. Not only will the government agencies save thousands of dollars by diverting product away from the landfills, but jobs will be created to support this new industry in our community. Furthermore, we will be saving huge amounts of natural resources and valuable landfill space. For every ton of paper we recycle, we save three cubic yards of landfill space, 17 trees, 380 gallons of crude oil and 7,000 gallons of water. Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to power a TV for three hours and saves the equivalent of 6 ounces of gasoline.
It is our goal that citywide curbside recycling will begin on June 1 for Natchez, but you don’t have to wait to start recycling in your home or your place of work. Concordia Metal at 801 U.S. 61 North in Washington and 5030 Hwy 84 West in Vidalia is now accepting paper (old newspaper, junk mail, office paper and cardboard), plastic (No. 1 and No. 2 bottles and jugs only), metals (aluminum and steel cans) and computers and electronic equipment (no TV’s or monitors). Simply rinse out all of the food particles, and keep your paper dry. The hours of operation are 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
The Green Alliance is a local non-profit group that meets regularly to discuss ways to raise awareness of environmental issues. The mission statement of the Green Alliance reads, “Our mission is to promote resource awareness and recycling enterprises in the Miss-Lou. To achieve this, we educate the community about sound resource management and recycling opportunities for a more environmentally sustainable future.” Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend the next meeting of the Green Alliance on March 21 at 4 p.m. at the Historic Natchez Foundation at 108 S Commerce St. Please visit our new website, www.MissLouRecycles.com to learn more about recycling in the Miss-Lou.
Remember the Native American proverb, “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.”
Jim Smith is chairman of the Green Alliance.