A partnership of New Albany city government, the New Haven Center, city and county schools, and employees of the Walmart Distribution Center has created a community-wide recycling program for New Albany and Union County.
The comprehensive program will recycle cardboard, newspapers, plastic containers, steel cans and aluminum cans and will be inaugurated 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. 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.
Jennie Ashmore, a recently retired, career teacher in the New Albany Public Schools, was in charge of a recycling workshop for public school teachers conducted July 26th, at the Magnolia Room of the New Albany Civic Center. Teachers from both city and county schools learned about the new recycling program and developed plans during the workshop for implementing the first phase of it in the schools
Speakers at the workshop included: New Albany Mayor Tim Kent; Marcus Presley, Area Asset Protection Senior Manager for Walmart Distribution Center (Walmart DC); Jean Ashcraft of SpeakgreenMS.org; Dr. Collett Cross, director of the New Haven Center; Cissy Cox, representing Mississippi Department of Health; and Phil Nanney, executive director of the Union County Development Association.
Teachers participating in the workshop included: Gloria Turner, Ingomar; Jorja Weeden, West Union; Kathy Walker, East Union; Kim Day and Nannette Ballard of New Albany High School. City schools superintendent Dr. Charles Garrett and county schools superintendent Ken Basil are supporting the recycling effort.
Jean Ashcraft of SpeakgreenMS.org 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.
Mayor Kent told the group of the role the city’s Solid Waste Department will play in recycling. 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.
“We believe this is a workable recycling plan,” said Kent. “[Solid Waste Manager] Wayne Treadaway 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
Marcus Presley said 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 will 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.
New Haven Center for Special Needs Adults has been running a small-scale program for recycling aluminum beverage cans for about two years. New Haven clients process the cans for sale to scrap metal dealers. New Haven Director Collett 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. Cross 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.
Cross said 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.