Team Picayune spearheads clean up campaign

Published 8:51 pm Friday, June 8, 2012

In their Wednesday morning meeting, Team Picayune announced they are in the planning stages for a massive clean-up campaign which will include city recycling thanks to a $25,000 recycling grant from the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality.

A Clean Up Committee was formed and Ray Mitchell was elected to chair it. Committee members include Bill Edwards, Sheila Hansen, Jim Luke and Buddy McDonald.

Among topics the committee will address are strategies for including elementary-aged children and priority areas to be addressed.

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Buddy McDonald told the group, “Back when more community people were in the military, this was less of a problem because they were taught that you got in big trouble if you littered. Those military members taught their children the same thing but it seems to have been lost over the generations and has not been passed down. The kids see their parents do it and think nothing of doing it themselves.”

City Manager Jim Luke said, “I couldn’t agree more about educating young people. I know how my dad would have been if he had caught me throwing something out of my window and to this day it is something I feel strong about.

Team Picayune member, as well as Grants and Special Projects Administrator Christy Goss, says, “It may take up to six weeks to get the program up and running to full capacity. There will be a stationary location and a mobile location for residents to bring their recyclable materials. Public Works will move its operations to the stationary location after moving out of the current location on Beech Street, and they will be handling the recycling program.”

The stationary location will be on Whitthauer Lane, where one of the city’s water towers is located.

There also will be a mobile site, a popper container trailer, which will have a drop off container with two separate compartments to accept paper and plastic products only. The drop off container will have the benefit of being moved to different areas of the city during the week to make dropping off some recyclable materials easier.

Goss said, “Cardboard and aluminum products will still need to go to Whitthauer Lane.

Recycling concerns have been addressed over the years in meetings with concerned civic groups, such as the Civic Woman’s Club (CWC) of Picayune, but the first major issue was always finding a way to get the recyclable goods to a working facility.

Nancy Griffin of CWC of Picayune said, “In 2007 through the fundraising efforts of the ‘Pick It Up Picayune’ group, a box bailer for cardboard, plastics, etc. was purchased for the City of Picayune to use in litter control. Steve LeBlanc was the manager of Wal-Mart and a member of the Pick It Up Picayune committee.

“He organized the fundraising efforts with softball tournaments, etc. If I remember correctly it was through those efforts that the bailer was purchased and donated to the City. As a CWC member, I was President of Pick It Up Picayune when Steve was working with this.

“Civic Woman’s Club reported the clean-up project (to state leadership) placing 1st in Community Improvement in the State of Miss. (The state) reported our work to the General Federation of Women’s Clubs (GFWC) and at the GFWC International Convention in Chicago, in June of 2008, CWC of Picayune was awarded 4th Place internationally in the GFWC Community Improvement Contest for the combined efforts of our community and the club in the ‘Pick It Up Picayune’ program.

“CWC (of Picayune) is very excited that the City has received a grant to jump-start the local recycling program.”

Goss said, “It was hard to find a company to work in this area and the ones that would, wanted to charge us heavily. We were able to find Plum Creek Environmental Technology, who is a Miss. based company and who will service our area and pick up our recycled goods. Not only will they pick up our goods, but they will do so and not charge us for it. Instead they will pay us a portion of the proceeds. “It is very cost effective as well because most of the money received by the city from recycling will be used to offset the cost of manpower that will be used towards operating the program.” Goss continued, “Containers can be purchased, and there are other styles of containers than the one the city is providing. Companies or organizations can either purchase their own containers or go in with other companies or organizations and share the receptacles. Group orders can result in price breaks for for everyone because of the shipping expense. One truck can carry up to four receptacles.”

For those who may be interested in purchasing a receptacle, contact Goss at City Hall. She can be reached at 601-798-9770.

Goss’ intentions are to help match groups or businesses to share receptacles and the expense. She also hopes to coordinate deliveries to the benefit of all involved.