October 9, 2009 10:41:00 AM
Joe Bell and Stan Shurden were ready Wednesday for the first day of citywide curbside recycling pickup to begin in Starkville.
But the co-owners of Starkville Recycling had no idea how much material they would actually process.
City Sanitation Department trucks brought 11,090 pounds of recyclables to Starkville Recycling for sorting, Bell said, which surprised everyone at the facility on C.C. Clark Road.
"I wasn''t anticipating it being that much," Bell said. "I was expecting maybe two tons."
Still, Bell, Shurden and city officials, weren''t overwhelmed with the 5 1/2 tons of material. Starkville Recycling workers were able to sort and bail the items with no problems, Bell said.
Everyone involved in the recycling program, from city officials to community members to Starkville Recycling, is praising residents for embracing curbside pickup so quickly. Some residents on Wednesday put out three, four or even five bags of materials, Boyd said.
Starkville Chief Administrative Officer Lynn Spruill called the first day "a rousing success" and Sanitation Department head Sharon Boyd called it a "great turnout."
"We are very excited," Boyd said. "We''re getting more excited by the moment."
As of Thursday, more than 925 people had signed up with the city for curbside recycling pickup. People were still calling Bell and Boyd throughout the day Thursday to find out how they can take part.
"I think it''s going to keep growing and growing," Boyd said.
While curbside recycling is good for the environment, it also will help the city financially. Starkville pays Golden Triangle Waste Services $23.50 per ton to dump garbage at its landfill in Clay County, Boyd said, so the city saved about $130 Wednesday by recycling more than 5 1/2 tons of materials.
Bell expects the amount of recyclables to increase drastically as the curbside pickup program continues to gather steam.
"I''m guessing (the amount of recyclables) is going to double next time," Bell said.
City residents whose garbage is picked up on Mondays and Thursdays will have their recyclables collected on the first and third Wednesday of every month; Tuesday and Friday residential routes will be picked up on the second and fourth Wednesday of every month.
Starkville Recycling takes everything from newspaper and office paper to cardboard and magazines. Residents also can put out plastics, scrap metal and aluminum cans for pickup.
Workers at Starkville Recycling sort the materials and compress them into bails weighing between 1,500 and 2,000 pounds, Bell said. The company then stores the bails on a trailer until it gets about 40,000 pounds of each material, then Bell and Shurden ship the materials to a mill.
Starkville Recycling and the city eventually will share proceeds from the sale of materials to area mills. Any profits Starkville Recycling makes will be split, with the city getting 40 percent and Starkville Recycling keeping the remaining 60, Bell said.
But it will be a few weeks before Starkville Recycling can determine how much labor and time it takes to sort city residents'' recyclables, and how much profit it will make off the sale of materials.
Bell was glad Starkville Recycling, the city and community members were able to begin the first free curbside recycling pickup program in the state, and that the first day went off without a hitch.
"I think if we continue to stick together and help each other out, in the future this is going to work out great," Bell said.
To sign up for curbside recycling, call the Sanitation Department at 662-323-2652.
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