Possumhaw: A thousand generations depend on you



Shannon Bardwell



On Saturday, Sept. 22 at 8:45 p.m. the autumn equinox will occur and yet already school supplies fill the stores, fall catalogs arrive daily and traffic builds around college towns. While spring brings a season of cleaning, fall brings a season of sorting. 


Several sources use the five basic "Rs" for sorting and discarding: 


Refuse to bring home what you don't need. Reduce what you have. Reuse what you can, Recycle recyclables, and compost or "Rot" organics. Since Sam and I started recycling papers and plastics we have about one bag of garbage every three weeks. Most of our kitchen wet waste goes into the compost pile.  


Two bags hang near the kitchen door labeled "paper" and "plastics." When the bags are full they are carted to the recycle bins at Columbus Hitching Lot Farmer's Market. The bins are kept neat and clean and labeled cardboard, plastics and paper. I toss the bags inside. Plastics and papers end up in the same bin all mixed together. I wondered about that. The name on the bins was "Go Box." I decided to learn more, first by checking out their website (getgobox.com) and then making an unannounced visit to the company. 


The website said the method Go Box uses for recycling is called "single stream recycling." Everything goes into one bin and gets separated at the main facility. There are seven drop-off locations in Columbus and Caledonia. The most-used sites are the Hitching Lot Farmer's Market and Joe Cook Elementary School.  


A number of items can be deposited in the bins: newspapers, inserts, catalogs, books and magazines, junk mail, white or colored paper, cereal boxes, milk cartons, and just about anything that's paper. It doesn't matter if it's glossy or not.  


Plastics include water, soda, detergent and household cleaning bottles, jugs, toys, plastic trays, utensils, kitchen wares, any plastic consumer items.  


At the Go Box facility located in the Prairie I met with Rob Graham who was kind enough to show me what happens after the bins are emptied. The sorting of recyclables is actually done by hand. Then the material is bound in bundles by machines and loaded on conveyor belts. The sorting room looked incredibly neat considering it's our garbage. The large door opened to the rolling hills of the Prairie.  


Rob described other items that can be recycled by delivering them directly to the plant like metals including appliances, cans, pipes, aluminum siding and metal window frames. On top of one pile perched a metal ironing board. Individuals can dispose of up to 25 tires per month at no charge. No reason at all to dump in the river. They also take tree limbs and wooden pallets and turn it into mulch.  


There are other recyclers in the area including Starkville's Industrial Recyclers of Mississippi and West Point's Steel City. A quick internet search or phone call can tell you what each company recycles. We must to do something positive with our disposables. A plastic bottle today can be a playground tomorrow. 



Shannon Rule Bardwell is a Southern writer living quietly in the Prairie.


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