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Picayune Industries to make use of city baler

More than a year after its donation to the City of Picayune, a cardboard baler will see some use, at Picayune Industries.

After the city found it could not use the donated baler for its own recycling program, the city decided to lend it to Picayune Industries, which has been offering limited recycling services in the city for more than 15 years.

Picayune Industries was first opened by parents of disabled individuals as a Down Syndrome work activities program in the mid to late 1970s, said director Mary Ann Robinson. After South Mississippi Regional Center took over operations in the early 1990s, the agency began to accept newspaper and Mardi Gras beads for recycling.

A recent decision by the city council has donated Picayune Industries the baler that Wal-Mart donated to the city more than a year ago. Funds to purchase the baler were raised by a softball tournament that Wal-Mart held at Friendship Park in 2007.

Friday, the baler had electricity hooked up to it at Picayune Industries, which continues to employ local residents with handicaps. Robinson said that by Monday she hoped to get specific details from the city concerning the time frame the baler will be donated to Picayune Industries.

Starting now, Picayune Industries will accept newspapers, aluminum products, cardboard of all types without wax or plastic on or in cardboard, and plastic bottles that carry the number 1 and number 2 codes. Plastic bottles that carry that code are for PET for code 1 and HDPE for code 2. Most plastic products have a symbol on them to indicate their recycling code.

“You can just turn them over and see (the code) on the bottom,” Robinson said.

Codes are printed on plastic bottles in the middle of a triangle shaped symbol of three arrows.

A sign at the front of Picayune Industries at the corner of Sixth Avenue and Forest Avenue will provide recyclers with information on the kinds of materials the company will accept, Robinson said.

There are profits to be made from recycling, especially when prices are high. Robinson said last year the prices for aluminum and newspaper were exceptionally high, but those prices have dropped recently. Last year she said the agency were able to get about 80 cents a pound for aluminum. Now the price has dropped to 30 cents. Also newspaper bales last year brought in about $163. Now they are worth $63.

The money collected from the recycling program is used to pay their employees wages, Robinson said. Currently, Picayune Industries employs about 35 people and is looking for about five more. Not only does Picayune Industries employ the handicapped it also offers rehabilitation, social skills and daily living skills training.

Items for recycling will be collected during the company’s operating hours or can be dropped off at any time in the appropriate place. Further information can be found by calling Robinson at Picayune Industries at 601-798-8859. As of Monday, crossed phone lines directed calls to Picayune Industries to a local animal hospital. Robinson expects the phone issue to be corrected by today.