February 12, 2019 11:20:59 AM
Starkville is putting together an informal recycling committee to review the city's program and look at possible ways to improve it.
Ward 2 Alderman Sandra Sistrunk, who is leading the effort, said the committee's formation doesn't necessarily mean the city will introduce changes to the program. However, she said it's good to review things periodically, and it's been some time since the city has taken a look at its recycling program.
"We need to look at our practices," she said. "We need to look at the market and best practices out in other communities, and we need to see if there are areas where we need to make improvements."
The committee will consist both of aldermen-recommended members and volunteers. It will have seven members, and Sistrunk said it's got room left for another person or two. She will bring a list of members to the board at the Feb. 19 meeting for approval.
"After talking with a few people who are interested in the committee and seeing some of the things they want to do, it may be a six-month kind of thing," she said. "But I don't expect it to go on. I expect it to be short-term and to have a product -- a report to the board at the end of that term."
She added that, while the committee itself may be limited to seven members, they may reach out to other people for assistance during the process.
"There's room for involvement, and if anybody has an interest and wants to be involved, they're welcome to get in touch and we'll keep them on the designated hitter list," she said.
Mayor Lynn Spruill said she thinks the committee is a good way to look for improvements with the program.
"The secondary market drives what you can recycle and what has value. I think to revisit that fairly regularly is a prudent thing to do," Spruill said.
Areas to consider
Sistrunk said one area she'd like to focus on is how the city can do a better job of educating residents about the recycling program. She said that includes better informing people on what can be recycled and what the market considers "clean."
"I hate to admit it, but it's not been that long since I learned that taking the pepperoni out of a pizza box doesn't make it recyclable," she said. "If it's got grease spots in the bottom of the box, technically it's not recyclable any more. ... I get questions frequently about what you can and can't recycle."
Starkville's recycling runs every Wednesday. The city accepts materials such as plastic bottles, aluminum and steel cans, magazines, newspapers, detergent bottles and cardboard boxes for recycling. It does not accept glass, Styrofoam, boxes with wax coating or food stains, shrink-wrap or Visqueen plastic sheeting, diapers or feminine hygiene products.
Recycling program participants pay $2 per month for the program. Denis Marble, a secretary with Starkville Sanitation and Environmental Services who helps Director Calvin Ware oversee the program, said it has about 2,000 participants.
Sistrunk said "just about anything" with Starkville's recycling program is up for review through the committee. She said there are grants that are available that may be worth considering if the city can reasonably implement them.
"I think anything, from no changes at all, to whatever end of no changes at all is, is on the table," she said. "But I want us to survey what we're doing now, how much we charge for it, how many participants, where it goes when it leaves us, where it goes when it gets recycled -- those type of things."
Alex Holloway was formerly a reporter with The Dispatch.
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