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Recycling in New Albany

Recycling in New AlbanyIn the continued effort to create a recycling program in New Albany and Union County, several local government agencies, commercial businesses and community organizations have entered a partnership to install it across the city and county.
The City of New Albany, Walmart Distribution Center, the New Albany School District, the Union County School District and New Haven recently agreed to work together to develop a comprehensive city and county-wide program to recycle cardboard, newspapers, plastic containers, steel cans, and aluminum cans.
Community member and recycling proponent Jean Ashcraft said the program will take place in two phases. The first phase will be launched in city and county public schools early in the upcoming school year and will concentrate on plastic drink containers and aluminum cans only.
Phase one would be the teaching phase for the kids, it will be simple, and will teach them how to get them involved,” Ashcraft said.
The second phase will begin in the fourth quarter of this year and will include cardboard, newspaper, steel cans and a broader range of plastic containers, she said.
Jennie Ashmore, a retired teacher with the New Albany School District, is volunteering her time and effort and is working closely with Ashcraft.
Ashmore conducted a recycling workshop for school teachers on July 26 in the Magnolia Room of the New Albany Civic Center. Teachers from both city and county schools learned about the new recycling program and they discussed plans in which to implement the first phase of the program in the schools.
Speakers at the workshop were New Albany Mayor Tim Kent, Marcus Presley, area asset protection senior manager for Walmart Distribution Center, Ashcraft, Collette Cross, director of New Haven Center, Cissy Cox with the Mississippi Department of Health and Phil Nanney, executive director of the Union County Development Association.
Teachers participating in the workshop included: Gloria Turner of Ingomar, Jorja Weeden of West Union, Kathy Walker of East Union, and Kim Day and Nannette Ballard of New Albany High School.
At the meeting, Ashcraft stressed the importance of recycling, both in terms of environmental responsibility and economic benefits. Ashcraft is a long-time advocate of a comprehensive recycling program in the community.
She said, “Stewardship is so important, especially when it comes to teaching children at an early age how to recycle and take care of their environment.”
At the recycling workshop, Mayor Kent said that each ton of solid waste that goes to the Three Rivers landfill in Pontotoc County costs the city a $22 per ton “tipping fee,” an expense that totals several hundred thousand dollars annually, not including the cost of gathering the material and trucking it to Pontotoc County. The Solid Waste department will help collect material to be recycled and will help transport it to a recycling processing center.
Kent said, “We believe this is a workable recycling plan. Wayne Treadaway, solid waste manager, and I are committed to making it work, and I’m sure it will have the support of the community. It’s the right thing to do for the environment and it will save the city some of the money we’re paying now to put this material in the landfill. It will also help the New Haven Center, so it’s a win-win situation.”
Presley said that volunteers from Walmart DC have acquired 30 heavy-duty 55-gallon receptacles for aluminum beverage cans and plastic drink bottles for use in the first phase of the recycling program. The Walmart volunteers plan to place the containers in city and county schools and other locations and will regularly collect the cans and bottles from the containers and transport them to the New Haven Center for processing.
The money for purchasing the receptacles and signage for them was generated by a Walmart DC plan that provides $250 for each 25 hours of community volunteer work performed by a Walmart DC employee. The money is then made available for community projects such as this one.
Ashcraft said, “Because New Haven is using can collections as their fundraiser, this made the most sense to help New Haven as we helped train our children to protect their future, their environment by recycling. The layered effect of learning hopefully would eliminate chaos in the school participation of collecting. We would start with just cans that already had a repository--New Haven.”
For approximately two years, New Haven has been recycling aluminum cans and can tabs. The clients plan to process the cans for sale to scrap metal dealers. Cross said the center has earned about $1,000 from sale of the aluminum cans.
New Haven will grow its recycling program by processing the additional aluminum cans and plastic beverage bottles generated by the community-wide recycling campaign.
She said the New Haven board intends to further expand the center’s recycling activity to include processing of cardboard, newspapers and other items when collection of those items for recycling begins during the second phase of the recycling program late this year.
New Haven would benefit from the expanded work because it will create work for New Haven clients and will produce a small but growing income stream to support the work of the center,” said Cross.
The recycling project led by Ashcraft, Cross and Nanney is one of two projects that were started earlier this year in New Albany. Local resident Daniel Frain asked the New Albany Board of Aldermen for permission to form a recycling committee. This committee received 40 recycling bins from a Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality grant. Bins were placed in city municpal offices that include, but are not limited to City Hall, New Albany Fire Departments, New Albany Light, Gas, and Water, Union County Heritage Museum, and New Albany Police Department.
Cans that are collected are given to New Haven in order to help the center raise money to build an addition to their school as well as donating can tabs to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
The recycling group that is associated with UCDA also applied for a Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality grant months ago and also received bins.

By Angie Barmer

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