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City, county recycling plan beginning soon

NATCHEZ — Natchez residents will soon have the opportunity to go green earlier than expected.

A curbside recycling test program was originally scheduled to start this summer but was put on hold while city officials decided which company would be awarded garbage collection and disposal contracts.

Officials with Waste Pro USA, the company that currently provides collection services, said Wednesday they will soon start the recycling program to certain city and county residents.

“We’re definitely on board with the recycling program, and we went ahead and ordered the recycling bins to get started,” Waste Pro Division Manager Doug Atkins said. “We’ve got the territories designated, the trucks and employees on hand, so once we get the bins in we can get started with the program.”

Atkins said the company has ordered 1,500 recycling bins, which will be dropped off at the houses of the residents who can participate in the pilot program.

The specific locations where the program will be offered, Atkins said, should be finalized by the end of the week.

Jim Smith, chairman of the Green Alliance, said some of the areas previously discussed for pickup included the majority of the downtown area as well as other locations, such as the Liberty Road area.

Instructional information on what materials can and can’t be recycled will also be included, Atkins said.

“It’ll be kind of the do’s and don’ts of recycling,” he said.

The goal of starting the program early and before the city awards a new contract for the collection services is to make sure all the kinks are ironed out with the program, Atkins said.

“We’re just ready to get started, and we’re already here, so it’ll help a lot if we can go ahead and get the routine down so there wouldn’t be any hiccups down the road,” he said. “I’m excited to get the program going.”

New contracts for the city services must be awarded by June 22 after a ruling by Circuit Court Judge Forrest “Al” Johnson stated the Natchez Board of Aldermen’s November decision to award the city’s collection contract to Waste Pro and disposal contract to Riverbend Environmental Services violated the law.

Waste Management, the company that previously had the garbage collection contract, appealed the aldermen’s decision to circuit court, where Johnson ruled in the company’s favor.

The request for proposal (RFP) for the services will be presented to city officials at next month’s alderman meeting.

Waste Pro will continue to provide collection services and Waste Management disposal services until new contracts are awarded in June, which is when the current disposal contract expires.

Representatives from Waste Management, Waste Pro USA and Riverbend Environmental Services have all said their companies would submit proposals when the city issues a new RFP.

Smith said he was glad to see the company eager to start the program.

“I think that’s great, and hopefully this will help get the participation rate up,” Smith said. “No matter which company gets the RFP, recycling should be included in that.”

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