By Jeremy Pittari, Item Staff Writer
The Picayune Item
Since officially beginning in October of last year, Picayune’s recycling program has collected 15 bales of various recyclable materials.
The response means the recycling program could grow and begin to include local businesses and schools.
Special Projects Administrator Christy Goss said the city is considering adding another container to the program, one that will allow the city to collect more cardboard. City employee Shawn Stockstill said the program is getting a lot of response, with people stopping by the city barn twice a day or filling the satellite bin near Roseland Park Baptist Church twice a week. While the city is capable of accepting paper, cardboard, plastics coded 1 and 2, and aluminum cans, the most popular item donated to the program is paper, Stockstill said.
Not many residents are bringing their aluminum cans to the city, possibly because they are selling the metal to scrap yards themselves, or donating the cans to the local animal shelter on Palestine Road, Stockstill said.
The city has so many bales of recyclable material now that it will soon send out its first shipment for a rebate check. Andrew Wamble with Plum Creek Environmental said the company works with about a dozen other cities in Mississippi by collecting recyclable materials and selling them the collection bins. While Mississippi has the fewest cities with recycling programs, the idea is beginning to catch on.
“It’s certainly growing,” Wamble said.
Goss said once that first check comes in, the money will be used to further the recycling program, possibly providing funds to purchase more bins. However the money is spent will be considered by city officials first.
Of the materials collected, the plastic products will provide the city with the most cash, Wamble said. Plastics are either close to or on par with the price paid for aluminum cans, he said.
Picayune’s program, like the others in the state, began with a grant from the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, Wamble said. Picayune received $25,000 from a MDEQ grant to start the program.
As the program grows, Goss would like to get local businesses and schools to add a recycling container at their locations, and if they do, the city would be willing to empty it for them. A container such as the one at Roseland Park Baptist Church costs about $4,000 and the cardboard container the city is considering costs about $3,500 Wamble said. The more containers there are to empty, the more money will be put back into the program, he said.
The program also has given life to a baler donated to the city by Wal-Mart in 2008. The baler was being used by the now shuttered location of Picayune Industries, but has since been moved to the city barn where it bales all of the recyclable materials donated to the city.
Residents can drop any kind of paper or cardboard product, plastics with the codes 1 or 2, and aluminum cans, at the two locations. Those locations include the bin near Roseland Park Baptist Church and the city barn on Stephens Street. The location of the bin at the north side of town is part of an agreement between the city and the Cooper family that owns the property, Goss said.
“We really thank the Coopers for letting us have it there,” Goss said.
Once collected, the recycled mixed paper is used to make coffee cups at a company in Natchez which sells them to companies such as Starbucks, the cardboard is used to make recycled paper and the plastic products are used to make other plastic products, Wamble said.