Recycling plan moves ahead

Published 12:17am Thursday, May 23, 2013

VIDALIA — Vidalia residents may soon want to watch what they throw out with the trash.

The Vidalia Board of Aldermen is in the midst of ironing out the final details for a city-wide recycling program. Mayor Hyram Copeland wants the program to begin on July 1, but Alderman Ricky Knapp said Aug. 1 is a more realistic goal.

“We are four to five weeks out from getting the containers,” Knapp said. “We have to order and then distribute the containers. I don’t know if July 1 is a realistic date.”

The city is planning on starting with 500 containers, slightly less than 50 percent of the city’s 1,200 households. Residents will not have to pay to participate.

Knapp said the city is planning on purchasing a 36-gallon container that looks much like a typical garbage can.

“Initially, I showed the board a smaller and less expensive container,” he said. “But they seemed to think it would be a better idea to start with a larger container that had wheels.”

The larger, wheeled containers will make recycling easier for the elderly and disabled, Copeland said.

The larger containers won’t be cheap. Knapp estimated the initial order would cost approximately $25,000.

The board will also have to pay for pickup of the containers. Knapp said he hasn’t estimated the cost of pickup, but said it would take four hours for one truck to cover the city.

The board hopes to offset some costs with a $5,500 donation from a previous recycling committee that failed to implement a program in the 1980s.

The board is also looking into grants to help fund the program.

Once recycling is picked up, Concordia Metal will sort it and send the contents to paper and plastic mills. For example, recycled plastic bottles are often used in carpets, said Jim Smith of Concordia Metal and the Green Alliance.

“By us sorting the recycling, it makes the cost of the program reasonable, so they don’t have to haul it a long way,” Smith said. “We are looking to get the whole area from Brookhaven all the way to Alexandria, (La.,) to participate in a recycling program.”