3Qs: Sherrie Cochran, Tupelo environmental planner

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COCHRAN

Tupelo environmental planner Sherrie Cochran works in the city’s development services department to related to recycling, illegal dumping and other projects that impact the community. She recently announced the city will eliminate a drop-off recycling location in west Tupelo and enhance the remaining downtown location. She recently spoke with Daily Journal reporter Robbie Ward about recycling in the city.

Q: What options do people have to recycle in Tupelo?

A: Besides weekly residential curbside, household hazardous waste is collected throughout the year by our Department of Public Works and disposed of during Household Hazardous Waste Day in April. Yard waste is collected and turned into mulch and compost available for use by our residents. E-waste televisions, computers, game consoles and phones are recyclable by most of the retail outlets that carry these items. At Christmas time live trees are collected and given to the state Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks to build fish habitats. Residential Shred Day is for up to six 30-gallon-sized bags of sensitive documents. Medical Sharps can be taken to Walgreen’s on South Gloster Street. Prescription drug take back is held by the Lee County Sheriff’s department. Useable building supplies can be taken to Building Blocks for a tax deduction and the proceeds provide scholarships for children at the Learning Skills Center.

Q: Recycling reduces waste sent to landfills, but what other benefits does recycling in the city bring?

A: Residential curbside diverts enough solid waste to save the taxpayers roughly $15,000 a month in tipping fees, or $180,000 yearly. Since the adoption of residential recycling the city has saved $1.4 million. I would say that is the biggest benefit to the taxpayers. Beyond that, recycling means separating, collecting, processing, marketing and ultimately using a material that would have been thrown away.

Q: Some people also don’t recycle say it’s too much of a hassle. What tips do you suggest for recycling beginners adding it to daily and weekly routines?

A: If you take the time to throw something away, is it any more inconvenient to separate your trash from recyclables? It pays to recycle both locally and globally. Tips for beginners: create a recycling area close to your regular trash, post a sign for the household “Think! Can this be recycled?” When you bring your empty recycling bin back empty, congratulate yourself for taking personal responsibility to change our community for the better.