REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLEVolunteer program slowly catching on

Published 11:40 am Monday, July 9, 2012

After two months, the City of Vicksburg’s volunteer recycling program has extended its boundaries and increased participation to 162 residents, just more than half of its projected goal of 300, city officials said.

The program had collected 665 pounds of paper and 103 pounds of plastic as of June 27, the most current statistics available, recycling project manager Angela Turner said.

Funded by a $25,000 Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality grant, the program began May 5 involving residents living between Cherry Street, Eisenhower Drive, East Avenue and Chambers Street. It has since expanded from the 2100 block of Drummond Street south to Vicksburg High School, city policy director Marie Thompson said.

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She said plans include expanding east to take in the part of Cherry Street south of Chambers.

“We weren’t getting enough participation in the initial area,” she said. “We chose that (first) area because the people living there were more environmentally conscious. We were hoping they would influence their neighbors to participate.

“I don’t think people realize what we’re trying to do or what these bins are for,” Thompson said. “One time when we were giving out recycling bins, a woman asked me if she could have one for her laundry. We’re hoping that as we continue the program people will become better educated and want to get involved.”

Thompson and Turner said the program’s expansion also has led to a problem with people stealing the bins. Thompson said 14 containers have been reported missing in the past week from homes on East Avenue and Cherry, Vicklan and Drummond streets. None of the thefts was reported to Vicksburg police, she said.

“We need people to report those thefts to the police so we can have a record and we can have an accurate inventory,” Mayor Paul Winfield said. “Those bins are city property and stealing them is a crime.”

Police Chief Walter Armstrong said stealing the bins carries a fine of up to $500 and up to a year in jail.

Thompson said the move down Drummond was done in part because of requests from residents.

Turner said recycling bins were distributed to Drummond residents in mid-June.

She said anyone in the program areas who wants to participate may call the city at 601-801-5377.

Program participants receive two lidded, 18-inch bins — green for paper and blue for No. 1 and No. 2 plastics such as milk, soft drink and soap containers. The containers are emptied each Tuesday by city community service employees. The materials are taken to MIDD-West Industries on Rifle Range Road, where they are sorted, packaged and sold to industry.