Curbside recycling on table again?

Published 12:07 am Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Former NFL player Deuce McAllister spoke to the Adams County Board of Supervisors Monday on behalf of his employer, Waste Pro.

NATCHEZ — A possible partnership between Adams County and the City of Natchez could bring curbside and drop-off recycling to city and county residents next summer.

Green Alliance member Steve McNerney appeared before the Adams County Board of Supervisors Monday to present a proposal to create a recycling center in an existing building on Lower Woodville Road.

McNerney’s presentation spurred a discussion of area recycling, or rather the lack thereof, among supervisors, McNerney and Waste Pro USA representatives present at the meeting.

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McNerney proposed that the city and county enter into an interlocal agreement to create a recycling center, mainly for cardboard, in a building once owned by International Paper Co. that housed Pickett Industries. The center would also accept mixed paper, No. 1 and 2 plastics, aluminum and scrap metal.

McNerney said funding is available through the Department of Environmental Equality’s solid waste assistance grants to buy equipment for the center.

Supervisors questioned whether the county could use existing recycling facilities that are already staffed.

Supervisors President Darryl Grennell said after the meeting he believes the board is interested in seeking the SWAG funding proposed by the Green Alliance to add processing and baling equipment to existing sanitation convenience stations on the north and south ends of the county.

McNerney reminded the supervisors of the urgency of the decision of the location of the recycling center because of the October deadline for SWAG funding.

McNerney said a law coming down the legislative pipe will require local governmental entities to reduce their waste streams to landfills by recycling.

Former Ole Miss and New Orleans Saints running back and Waste Pro USA consultant Deuce McAllister and Waste Pro Senior Vice President Wally Carter were at the meeting to introduce their company in anticipation of the county’s residential waste contract expiring with Waste Management in May.

McAllister and Carter said they believe they can lower the cost of trash collection and disposal to residents by providing competition. Carter said Waste Pro reduced the cost of trash collection for the City of Vicksburg $33,000 a month and $210,000 monthly in Harrison County, which combined with all four of its municipalities for a waste contract.

Carter also mentioned the curbside recycling offered by Waste Pro. Carter talked about a reward-based recycling program Waste Pro has offered in other communities where residents who recycle receive coupons and discounts from local merchants. Carter said the reward incentives can boost recycling participation as high 90 percent.

Carter said curbside recycling generally costs residents an additional $2-2.50 a month.

Supervisor Mike Lazarus said at the meeting he has talked with Mayor Butch Brown about the city and county combining their contracts in the interest of lowering rates.

Brown said Monday afternoon that it is his hope that the city and county can combine the residential contracts to reduce the overall costs and also offer curbside recycling at no additional or even reduced cost to residents.

Grennell and other supervisors stressed the importance of educating residents on the importance of recycling.

“One of the most important things that I truly believe is going to help make it successful is educating the public on the importance of recycling,” Grennell said. “People need to know this Earth is important to us and for future generations, and we have to take care of it.”

Grennell said SWAG funding is also available for materials to educate residents on recycling.

“Somewhere down the road the federal government is going to step in and say, ‘What are you doing to reduce (waste) going in landfills?’” Grennell said. “It’s going to become a way of life…so we might as well start now.”