Locals prep for first day of recycling program

Published 12:12am Tuesday, July 30, 2013

NATCHEZ After years of talks, hopes, dreams, several failed attempts, several more plans and legal action over a garbage contract, citywide recycling will begin in earnest Wednesday.

Waste Pro trucks will be running routes to collect recyclable materials from area homes.

To participate, residents should place recycling in their blue recycling bins on the curb before pickup begins at 7 a.m., Waste Pro Southwest Division Manager Doug Atkins said.

“It’s important that people get their bins out on time,” Atkins said. “If people put their recycling out after that, we may have already passed by. It’s been a big problem in the past with garbage pickup.”

Only recycling bins should be placed on the curb Wednesday, he said. No garbage will be collected.

Cardboard boxes can also be placed next to the blue bins and filled with recycling, if items will not fit in the bins, Atkins said.

Recyclable material should not be placed in plastic bags, instead, items should sit loosely in the bins, he said.

Glass, Styrofoam and certain kinds of plastic cannot be recycled.

Unacceptable items often clog the sorting line, said Jim Smith, chairman of the Green Alliance and of Concordia Metals employee.

Concordia Metals’ employees sort recyclable items by type of material after drop off. Employees smash materials into a bale and ship the bales to factories for repurposing, Smith said.

“Unacceptable items really mess up that whole process,” he said. “We have to put any unacceptable items in the landfill. If the unacceptable items get into the bale, they can cause the mill to reject it.”

Smith said plastic bottles and jugs are acceptable. Yogurt tubs or plastic motor oil containers are examples of unacceptable items.

“There are lots of slogans that go with recycling, but the best one is, ‘When in doubt, throw it out,’” he said.

Smith also said rinsing containers with water is necessary to ensure food particles don’t end up in the bales.

Though 6,000 recycling bins were distributed, Atkins said he doesn’t expect everyone to recycle.

“The nationwide average is 25 to 30 percent of people that recycle,” he said. “I’m hoping for a higher percentage. A high percentage of recycling reduces the amount of garbage we take to the landfill.”

But Smith and Atkins aren’t the only ones fired up about recycling.

Natchez resident John “Sonny” Sanguinetti said his recycling bin is already overflowing.

“We have been recycling for years,” Sanguinetti said. “We collected cans for church and for Boy Scouts. We have already started collecting our recycling for Wednesday and had to stop because it got so full.”

Vidalia will soon join Natchez in its recycling effort.

The city recently ordered 500, 35-gallon recycling bins. Alderman Ricky Knapp said the bins should arrive in early September.

After receiving the bins, the city will begin a pilot program to gauge interest. Nearly 100 Vidalia residents are signed up currently, Knapp said.

“We are going to start with 500 and see what happens from there,” he said. “It’s definitely a great thing, and I hope to get the whole city on board.”