Tupelo fixes recycling woes

TUPELO – Six months after an investigation revealed some city recyclables going to the landfill, a second peek into the program shows sustained success.
Plastics, aluminum, steel and papers dropped off at the city’s various recycling depots now go to Tupelo Recycling, where they are sorted and sold to companies that reuse them.
Drop-off recycling is different from curbside recycling, which is handled through a contract with residential garbage hauler Waste Management.
The city’s agreement with Tupelo Recycling was implemented immediately after the Daily Journal received a tip and investigated the problem in June 2009. It continues to this day, said city Public Works Director Sid Russell.
Tupelo Recycling charges nothing to take the material, which averages between 5-8 tons each month.
Previously, the city had removed and sold aluminum cans from the drop-off bins but took everything else to the Lee County Solid Waste Transfer Station in the Skyline community. The transfer station then compacted the recyclables and took them to the Three Rivers Regional Landfill in Pontotoc.
City officials said they didn’t know the transfer station was dumping the materials, but Lee County Solid Waste Director Terry McGlaun said that always had been the practice.
It had been going on for an estimated eight years before it was discovered.
McGlaun said since the city hasn’t taken any recyclable materials to the transfer station since the story ran.
Anyone can drop off recyclables at the city’s various depots. They’re located on Commerce Street across from Metro Fueling Station and at Fire Station No. 6 on Coley Road. These bins accept newspaper, aluminum, tin, cardboard, junk mail, magazines, telephone books and plastic.
Contact Emily Le Coz at (662) 678-1588 or emily.lecoz@djournal.com.

Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal