EDITORIAL: Curbside coming

Tupelo takes a long-overdue step Aug. 1 when the city begins curbside recycling under a new contract with Waste Management.
Until now, anyone wanting to recycle had to haul items to two designated dropoff points in the city, and materials were limited to newspapers, plastic bottles and aluminum cans.
Establishment of a curbside recycling service at the reasonable rate of $4.61 per month per household at last gets Tupelo into what is becoming a mainstream environmental practice offered by progressive communities.
Most residents will begin getting their recycling bins this week. Pickup of recycled materials will begin on the first day of August and occur every other Wednesday from that point on.
Plastic drink and food containers, all types of paper, cardboard from household use and aluminum and metal cans can all be put together in the same bin.
Recycling is a simple, basic practice everyone can engage in to raise the local level of environmental stewardship. Recycling reduces waste, saves landfill space and generally contributes to a more sustainable environment. It requires only modest adjustment in household habits; until now, the greatest inconvenience for residents was having to separate and haul the stuff themselves. Now that will be taken care of for them.
While lagging behind several other Mississippi cities on curbside recycling, Tupelo has made progress on other environmental fronts, including creation of a city composting site. While it’s not often viewed as such, the city’s emphasis on downtown development and inner-city neighborhood renewal in itself has an environmental dimension, both in renewing and recycling old housing stock and in countering development sprawl.
Toyota’s arrival in Northeast Mississippi will, no doubt, raise the level of environmental awareness in Tupelo and the region. The automaker is one of the world’s most “green” companies and its environmental stewardship practices are sure to have an impact on the thinking of businesses and local governments in our area. Tupelo’s adoption of curbside recycling comes at an appropriate time, given that coming emphasis.
For the program to be effective requires widespread participation. If you live in Tupelo, please take part. It’s a simple and easy way to contribute to a more sustainable community.