Is Vidalia recycling coming in near future?

Published 12:03 am Wednesday, March 20, 2013

VIDALIA — A Vidalia alderman hopes the prospect of a citywide curbside recycling program doesn’t get taken out with the rest of the city’s garbage.

Alderman Ricky Knapp said he brought the matter to the board’s attention last hoping to jump a program within the city.

“I think a recycling program is way past due for our area, and I just want to keep it on everyone’s mind,” Knapp said. “I think we need to keep looking for ways to get on board and offer the program to our residents.”

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Knapp said the discussion came about after speaking to Jim Smith, who is chairman of the Green Alliance and an employee of Concordia Metal, about the work he’s been doing to allow residents to drop off recyclable material at Concordia Metal in Vidalia. Smith has also been working to start a curbside recycling program in Natchez.

“I would like to see curbside in Vidalia, but I think it would probably have to start off with a volunteer basis to get people to take it to Concordia Metal,” Knapp said. “I’d be willing to meet with Mr. Smith and Concordia Metal just to see what they’re working on and see if we could expand that into Vidalia.”

Currently, members of the community who participate in recycling must personally bring their items to Concordia Metal locations in Vidalia or Natchez.

Smith said the Green Alliance, which is a non-profit organization that has pushed for community recycling, has met with City of Vidalia officials to show them how the curbside recycling program would work.

“We showed them our new sorting facility that is ready to start accepting materials from trucks,” Smith said. “The initial start up costs are always the problem, but the cost savings could be huge for the city over the long term.

“Right now, they’re also worried about the participation rate.”

Smith said he will offer city officials the ability to send out a survey with monthly utility bills that would request residents often feedback about curbside recycling.

“Hopefully that will give us enough feedback and, if not, we’ll go to some rudimentary telephone surveys to a certain number of people,” Smith said. “We know it’s going to start off slow, but if we could get 25 percent of the households in the beginning and grow it from there, that would be great.”

A benefit for the city and its residents the Green Alliance program offers, Smith said, is that it will be single stream, which would only require products to be put in one single bin.

“That makes it easy for the households to not have to sort in three different bins,” Smith said. “That’s also easier for the city trucks to pick up and just dump at our new sorting facility.”

The sorting facility will work to separate recycled material into different categories for packaging, Smith said.

“The truck will dump everything out and a conveyor system which will take it up to six men who will sort the various types of paper, plastics and other materials,” Smith said. “The big thing we’re trying to do now is educate people to keep their recyclable materials out of plastic bags.”

Concordia Metal is located at 801 U.S. 61 North in Washington and 5030 Hwy 84 West in Vidalia.

The hours of operation are 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.