The city of Tupelo’s failure to ensure that plastic placed in drop-off recycling containers actually gets recycled is less than honest, to put it charitably.
The solution is simple: Do what you say you’re doing, or stop making claims that plastic recycling is city policy.
The official Web site says it recycles plastic and that the recycle trailer accepts newspaper, aluminum and steel cans and plastic bottles #1 and #2 (numbers found on bottom of bottles of soft drink, milk, detergent, etc.)
The recycling doesn’t happen.
After being taken to the transfer station operated by Lee County, plastics are hauled to the Three Rivers Solid Waste Management District landfill, west of Pontotoc.
Lee County, which operates its own solid waste hauling service, bundles and sells cardboard and newspapers, but it does not recycle plastics. The Three Rivers landfill has accepted plastic waste for burial since its opening.
The deception, whether intentional or just fumbling, should be corrected, and it should be easy to accomplish.
Recyclable materials, including plastic, are accepted by Tupelo Recycling, a business on Westmoreland Drive. The city should explore a business arrangement for plastics recycling.
As matters stand, a lot of time and energy has been expended by many citizens from the city and the rest of Lee County who voluntarily have taken plastic to the bins with the expectation it would be recycled.
The drop-off program, it should be noted, is different from Tupelo’s residential curbside recycling program, run by Waste Management, which collects green bins from households twice monthly.
In addition to Tupelo’s internal issues, we hope Three Rivers Solid Waste Authority succeeds in efforts to contract with a recycling firm to extract everything reusable from the huge waste stream generated by its multi-county membership.
The people who have conscientiously taken plastics to the recycling bins generally are environmentally active and go the extra mile as a matter of concern and conviction.
A new administration taking office in Tupelo early next month could wipe the slate clean on the recycling issue in short order by striking a deal for plastics recycling, then work as a matter of regional policy with Three Rivers to expedite full recycling at the landfill.
Communities worldwide have found that sensible, full recycling is both environmentally protective and profitable. The green era is full of changes and opportunities. Tupelo will do itself a favor in the long term if it simply practices what it has claimed for years to do.
The Three Rivers authority holds even greater potential for profit and environmental integrity at its towering landfill.
NEMS Daily Journal