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Area municipalities receive $317,000 in recycling funds

NATCHEZ — The City of Natchez, along with the City of Brookhaven and Wilkinson County, received more than $300,000 last week to fund a regional recycling effort.

Natchez Community Development Director James Johnston said the three entities have been awarded a little more than $317,000 through the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality’s Regional Recycling Cooperative Grants Program.

The grant will help pay for educational and marketing efforts to educate residents of participating communities on recycling, as well as transportation and equipment.

Plans for Natchez include placing recycling bins downtown in the Main and Franklin streets area and on the bluff, as well as a compactor at the Natchez Convention Center for use by downtown businesses.

The National Park Service has agreed to place containers at the William Johnson House and Melrose, Johnston said.

The funding for transportation would cover the costs of picking up the bins and transporting the recyclables to local recycling center Concordia Metal.

The company recently sent its first 40,000-pound load of plastic recyclables, which took approximately a year to collect.

The load was sent to Alabama, where it will be used to make carpet, Green Alliance chairman and Concordia Metal employee Jim Smith said.

The City of Natchez’s curbside recycling program sends approximately 12,000 pounds of various recyclables a week to Concordia Metal. Adams County began its curbside pilot program for 500 residences earlier this month.

Smith said the grant is progress toward Natchez and the region building participation in recycling.

“It’s a big step forward for the program, and I think it will bring a lot more visibility to recycling,” Smith said. “We’re such a rural part of the state and the country, it takes a certain number of people to make an impact. It’s going to take everybody in this region to make it work.”

Johnston said the formal award of the two-year grant will be April 24, and said he is not sure the timeline for launching the local efforts that will be paid for by the funding.

The local governments are partnering with businesses and organizations for in-kind contributions that Johnston said total approximately $100,000.

The grant partners include The Natchez Democrat, Brookhaven newspaper The Daily Leader, the NPS, the Natchez-Adams County Port, four of the port’s industrial tenants, the Natchez-Adams County Airport, the Green Alliance, Copiah-Lincoln Community College, Alcorn State University, the Natchez-Adams County Chamber of Commerce the Natchez Convention Center and others.

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