Picayune needs a more extensive recycling program

Published 7:00 am Friday, February 3, 2017

Afew years ago our city leaders took a huge step in the right direction by staging two bins in key areas of the city for residents to bring paper and aluminum products for recycling.

The success of that initial effort eventually led to curbside pickup in 2013. To city leaders, that negated the need for the centrally located bins, which could be utilized by county residents living outside the city limits.

There are still some avenues for recycling metals, such as bringing them to a scrap yard. Through this method, county residents can receive a small compensation for their effort; it might just be enough to cover the gas involved in hauling it to the scrap business.

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As for paper and plastic waste generated by county residents, there is no longer a facility within close vicinity of Picayune capable of accepting these items.

For county residents, they are more or less forced to send paper, plastic, glass and other materials that could potentially be repurposed to Central Landfill in Millard.

This gap in service extends to hazardous waste. While county officials put forth efforts to secure grant funding to hold a hazardous waste collection day, not everyone participates and it’s only held once or twice a year. That means there’s a large amount of hazardous material potentially contaminating the local environment.

One business that used to accept materials not generally thought of as recyclable reportedly went bankrupt in 2013. Previous to that filing, the business would accept used motor oil, old car batteries, fluorescent bulbs and even products that contain mercury.

Sadly, the fact that the business went bankrupt left the facility unmanned, but still housed hazardous substances. Fortunately, the Environmental Protection Agency reports that the facility has been cleaned.

However, unless we are willing to

drive miles out of our way, there is no other choice but to dispose of materials that could potentially be reused, or hold onto them until the next hazardous waste cleanup day is scheduled.

Here’s hoping that will change soon.