One of six proposals includes recycling

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 3, 2002

Dorothy Lack places a bag of plastic bottles into a recycle bin in the Kmart parking lot Tuesday. Lack said she recycles newspapers, magazines and plastics about every three weeks in this same location. “It is not a big hassle for me to come here,” Lack said. “But I know a lot of people would be more inclined to recycle if it were picked up at home.”(The Vicksburg Post/Melanie Duncan)

[07/03/02]Only one garbage proposal of the six submitted to Vicksburg officials includes an option for curbside recycling.

Earth Friends Recycling and Disposal Inc. of Tallulah submitted the proposal stating that 30 to 45 percent of Vicksburg’s solid waste disposal costs could be eliminated if a curbside recycling was started but it would increase collection costs.

Earth Friends issued two solid waste options that included curbside recycling. The first charges $2.44 per household, which would include a once-weekly collection of materials such as paper, plastic and aluminum. The proposal says the company would issue each household in Vicksburg a 21-gallon container to be used for separating recyclables similar to containers offered in communities that do actively recycle.

Earth Friends and Disposal Inc. also submitted a bid to provide curbside recycling and solid waste pick-up at a price of $8.15 per resident.

Sylvester Brown, president of Earth Friends and Disposal Inc., said Vicksburg could easily funnel 35 to 45 percent of the solid waste collected away from landfills if a recycling program was implemented. He said the program would also be cost-effective.

“We already have numbers that the recycling program would pay for itself,” Brown said.

The city has contracted out residential garbage collection for nearly 20 years and is seeking new offers for that contract plus, possibly, contracts for other city operations such as picking up appliances, construction debris, leaves and limbs. Under separate contracts, the city pays to have all waste, once collected, disposed of by different firms. The total cost is paid by residents at a rate of $11.05 per month plus a city general fund subsidy.

Vicksburg would be a good place to set up recycling, Brown said, because of the size, location and attitude of the people in the city.

The hardest part of a curbside recycling program is convincing residents to participate, Brown said. Once they get in the habit of separating materials, it’s not a big deal.

“We need to educate the public how beneficial it is to recycle,” Brown said. “It would take the recycling plan about three years to get the system in place.”

Paul Rogers, city strategic planner, said the reason only one proposal included recycling was because Mayor Laurence Leyens asked for it as an addendum on the day proposals were due.

Leyens said he supports recycling and would like to see Vicksburg have a curbside program if it could be cost effective.

Leyens said accepting proposals for solid waste pickup marks the beginning of the process. Negotiations follow and a company will be selected before Nov. 1.

Holly Simrall, executive director of Keep Vicksburg-Warren Beautiful, said a curbside recycling program would be good for Vicksburg because it would eliminate the amount of garbage that goes into landfills.

“I would certainly hope that what part of the city would do is educate the people in the city about how important recycling is,” Simrall said.

Marsha Weaver, city coordinator, said the city is looking into ways the added costs could be obtained through other sources.

“We’re exploring which funds are available,” Weaver said. “I think we’re progressive and other cities are doing the program.”