Recycling is alive and well in Natchez

Published 12:01 am Sunday, September 2, 2012

I’ve read a lot of articles in our local newspaper about recycling in our area — how we need to recycle, how recycling is dead, how it’s on again, off again, why we don’t have a recycling program, or why we don’t recycle.

I have news for you, recycling is very much alive and active in the Miss-Lou and has been for years.

Bought a new set of tennis shoes lately? The soles could have been made out of the old tires you took off your car when you bought new ones. That’s recycling!

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The car you are driving now could have been made from a ’57 Chevy that someone took in for scrap metal. Recycling!

The new asphalt laid on your street is actually the old asphalt taken up and recycled before putting it back down. Recycling!

See the new “fly-over” being built in Natchez? The steel structure in the reinforcement for the concrete is made from a farmer’s old equipment that was no longer usable. Recycling!

Ever bought a used auto part from an auto salvage yard. Recycling!

Got a shipment in the mail or UPS in a cardboard box? That box was probably made from some of the boxes the local grocery stores or a business have had a cardboard recycler pick up. Recycling!

That new notepad you use to write on? It could have been your kids’ papers from school that Mississippi River Pulp right here in Natchez picked up and recycled.

Has your air conditioner gone out lately in your car or home? The repairman probably used recycled Freon for its cooling. Recycling!

Had the oil changed in your car lately at a local vendor? Yes, the old oil was sent to a recycler and reused. Recycling!

I could go on and on with scenarios but that is not the intent of this letter.

I would like to say the Miss-Lou has a very, very long and successful history of recycling.

It’s not a new concept; just presently we do not recycle plastics nor do we recycle paper as much as it is needed. We tend to forget these things and get hung up on one particular problem and think “OMG,” we need a recycling program.

We have a lot of resources and taxpaying businesses right here at home that we can utilize instead of reinventing the wheel.

We are fortunate to have a company such as MRP in our area that processes waste paper. They ship paper in from all over the U.S. to recycle. They run some very good paper recycling programs with local schools and organizations, at a cost to them, I might add.

We have a lot of businesses that recycle their cardboard and have other recycling companies pick it up from them.

Mr. Krouse had a recycling yard in Natchez for many, many years. We have a number of auto salvage yards in the area, and my family has been in the Miss-Lou community recycling for more than 50 years starting with a salvage company in the early ’60s. We have expanded from then and now handle more than 60 different grades of recyclable materials.

Recycling is alive and well in the Miss-Lou and has been for a very, very long time.

Now comes the plastics, our newspapers and our magazines. We all have to have our bottled water, since for whatever reason, we don’t want to drink tap water. But now we have these unsightly little plastic bottles everywhere, they have very little value to them and are just a pain to recycle.

Our newspapers, magazines and sales papers that come in the mail that we don’t ever look at are laying everywhere. Very few people will take these items to a drop off point because they have little or no value to recycle, and it is inconvenient. Some of us will not recycle since we are lazy or just don’t care.

We (including myself) want curbside recycling to pick up our recyclables (paper, plastics and aluminum cans), at our doorstep, which does cost money and will come eventually at a price to the taxpayer in one way or another.

There are many ideas and government programs available, but they all come at a price! That is the basic problem. Some of the above items I listed (steel, oil, asphalt) have a monetary value that makes them profitable to recycle. Some of the items I listed (Freon and tires) are required by law to be recycled and vendors have no choice due to Department of Environmental Quality standards.

Plastics, paper and cardboard are costly to recycle due to logistics. Their weight and density for transportation are expensive.

At some point in the near or distant future, markets will develop and we will recycle plastics as we do with so many other commodities. But for now, we will have to tolerate them or recycle them at a cost.

As a community, we have come a long way in cleaning up our levees, bayous, gullies, rivers, woods and streets through recycling, but we still have more we can do with a little effort.

My point is, I commend groups for pursuing the preservation of our community. But to say we don’t have recycling is just wrong!

We just don’t have recycling available for paper and plastics to the extent it should be.

We have a lot of great government, business and community leaders in our area and all the assets we need to continue recycling and make it better.

A little patience, thought, and education of the assets we have and how to use them will go a long way to solve this issue without costing all of us a lot of money.


Travis Brown is the owner of Concordia Metal.