Recycling plan put on hold

Published 12:03 am Thursday, September 20, 2012

NATCHEZ — Before a local curbside recycling program can be planned, those involved in the early planning said residents should know about existing recycling options.

While a coalition of area leaders is working with the Green Alliance to ultimately develop a local recycling program, Natchez City Engineer David Gardner said the committee is waiting until the city and Adams County award waste collection contracts to really move forward. The two governments have agreed to negotiate together to have more bargaining leverage.

“Whoever the selected company would be would offer some insight into the best way to implement some kind of city-county recycling program,” Gardner said.

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The awarding of the contracts, which should happen in late November, could be a good chance to see if some form of a recycling program can be included in the overall waste pickup plan, Gardner said, but if not the Green Alliance is exploring the use of several grants that could fund the program.

Supervisor Mike Lazarus, who is on the recycling committee, said the

Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality has a $400,000 grant available specifically targeting the development of regional recycling programs.

“The thing about this grant is that they will consider (the city of) Natchez and Adams County partnering to be a region,” Lazarus said.

While waiting for a more formal program to get under way, Gardner said the public should know about existing recycling opportunities.

Mississippi River Pulp accepts most paper for recycling, though the company does not accept cardboard. Concordia Metal’s Natchez location at 801 U.S. 61 North accepts paper — which it transports to MRP — and cardboard.

Concordia Metal Owner Travis Brown said he considered adding the paper and cardboard drop-off in Adams County as to be adding another step to his metal-recycling business.

Gardner said he believes it is only a matter of time before the area is given a mandate to start a recycling program, and Brown said he was looking to that future when he offered to serve as a drop-off location for the county.

“The long-term plan is that Adams County gets curbside recycling, and we are going to try to work with whoever is picking up the recyclables and try to put in a single-stream sorting facility at another location in the future,” Brown said.

While waiting for a long-term plan to form, Gardner said the group is also discussing the option of having several drop-off points around the county that will work with the existing paper and cardboard recycling centers.

“We want to try to make it easier for them to drop off all of the paper,” Gardner said. “If we could provide some points that would be easier access for people, that would be beneficial.”

Lazarus said any future plans would include a campaign to educate the public about what is recyclable and how to recycle it.