Jackson Co. leaders working to increase recycling by residents

Jackson Co. leaders working to increase recycling by residents
Thirty tons of recyclable material comes into the Waste Pro recycling plant in Gulfport every day. (Photo source: WLOX)
Thirty tons of recyclable material comes into the Waste Pro recycling plant in Gulfport every day. (Photo source: WLOX)

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Thirty tons of recyclable material. That's the amount that comes into the Waste Pro recycling plant in Gulfport every day. But Jackson County officials want that figure to increase. That's why about two dozen of them took a tour of the plant Thursday.

In Jackson County, about seven percent of the residents recycle. Why don't more join in?

"I think they're misinformed," said Solid Waste Director Ronda Powell. "They really don't have a lot of knowledge about it, and so that's our next goal is to try and promote it and educate people on why they should recycle."

While giving Mother Nature a hand is a good endeavor, when it comes to recycling, one thing is at the top of the list, according to Ocean Springs Alderman Bobby Cox.

"First off, you've got to want to. You've got to want to help the environment. And I really think that once you get the word out and you start doing it, it's very simple," Cox said.

Right now, the goal is raising that seven percent participation rate into something much higher. Brian Fulton is the Jackson County Administrator.

"One of the things that we wanted to do is to try and get the cities on board and try and create a bigger effort to recycle throughout the county, so that we can do the right thing for our environment," Fulton said.

Even though recycling has been around for years, across the country and here in South Mississippi, if you're in it for the profit, that's not going to happen. But it does have a monetary benefit.

"We do get some revenue in from what we actually recycle, but because of the labor and the manpower and equipment costs, it's not a money maker," Waste Pro Division Manager Rick Chancey explained. "But at the same time, it does reduce the cost overall by not having to pay tipping fees."

Lower tipping fees means less garbage in landfills, and that's a worthy accomplishment, one can at a time.

After the tour, city and county leaders talked about forming a special committee to look at ways to increase the recycling participation level in Jackson County.

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