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Answers to questions about city-wide recycling service

Photo illustration by Jay Sowers / The Natchez Democrat — Pictured are the various items residents will be able to recycle starting July 31.
Photo illustration by Jay Sowers / The Natchez Democrat — Pictured are the various items residents will be able to recycle starting July 31.

NATCHEZ — Natchez residents eager to go green can start putting their recycling bins out July 31.

Waste Pro USA will begin the city’s curbside recycling program that day and pick up recycling weekly on Wednesdays.

Residents should put recyclable items into the blue bins Waste Pro is currently delivering to houses.

Waste Pro Division Manager Doug Atkins said, however, if residents would like to recycle in their own bins, Waste Pro will still pick up the recycling.

“You can buy blue recycling carts with wheels and lids, if you want them, at places like Home Depot,” Atkins said. “As long as it’s blue and has the white recycle logo, our drivers will stop and pick it up.”

Atkins said only recycling would be picked up Wednesdays. Regular trash pick-up will remain on the same days.

Recyclable items should be placed loosely — not bagged — in the blue bins.

Items that can be recycled include:

• No. 1 and No. 2 plastics, such as beverage bottles, condiment containers, shampoo bottles, milk jugs and other items. No. 2 food trays cannot be recycled.

• Paper and cardboard products, such as newspapers, magazines, phone books, catalogs, office paper, flattened corrugated cardboard, cereal boxes and other items.

Paper products must be kept dry. Atkins suggests that if it is raining, hold off recycling your paper until a dry recycling day.

• Metal items such as aluminum cans and steel vegetable and soup cans.

All containers must be rinsed and free of food.

Items that cannot be recycled are plastics Nos. 3-7, such as Styrofoam cups, Solo cups and plastic bags, glass, wax-covered cardboard, televisions or computer monitors.

Green Alliance Chairman Jim Smith said the non-profit group, which is part of the Community Alliance, would be working with Waste Pro to educate the public on recycling.

Smith said the benefits of recycling are extensive.

Recycling helps save natural resources, Smith said, because the need for raw materials is reduced when items are reused. Less garbage, Smith said, also means less landfill space.

“And one aluminum can saves enough energy to power a TV for three hours,” he said.

Waste Pro will be dropping off the recycled items at Concordia Metal where they will then be processed to be reused.

Smith, who is also a Concordia Metal employee, said recycling also has an economic impact by creating jobs.

The plan at Concordia Metal, Smith said, is to eventually turn processing recycled items into a profitable business. It may take a while, Smith said, to actually turn a profit because the company made a significant investment in recycling equipment

The company’s success in the recycling business will depend on how the community embraces recycling, Smith said.

Concordia Metal is not charging Waste Pro a fee to take the recycled items, as do other recycling locations, Smith said.

Perhaps one of the most important benefits to Natchez, Mayor Butch Brown said, is the possibility of cutting costs of garbage collection and disposal.

“One of the main purposes of recycling is to reduce the amount of garbage that we collect and dispose,” Brown said. “One of the ambitious goals would be, theoretically, after people have learned and embraced recycling is that we could cut our garbage collection days down.”

Doing that, Brown said, would reduce the city’s overall cost of collection. Reducing the amount of garbage disposed in the landfill will reduce the city’s cost as well, Brown said, because the city is charged per ton for disposal.

The possible savings, Brown said, is something he hopes eases the apprehension of residents who are upset the city is spending money for a recycling program, even though that added cost was not passed on to residents.

Brown said he believes Natchez residents who support recycling outnumber those who do not.

“I believe much more of our population supports recycling over not recycling,” he said.

The curbside recycling program is not mandatory. Anyone who wishes not to participate and turn in a bin can call Waste Pro at 1-855-838-6778.

For more information about what can and cannot be recycled, visit misslourecycles.com.

Natchez residents wishing to purchase another 18-gallon recycling bin or 65-gallon trash can call City Hall at 601-445-7505. Recycling bins cost $25 and trash cans $75.

The City of Vidalia is now accepting requests from residents wishing to participate in the city’s curbside recycling pilot program. To sign up to receive a 35-gallon recycling bin, call City Hall at 318-336-5206 or visit misslourecycles.com and click on the “When” page. Only 500 households will be included in the pilot program, which is scheduled to start in September.