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After 8 months, Byram recycling program growing

Byram kicked off its voluntary recycling program in April with “grab bags” that included plastic bags, key chains, note pads, pens and a brochure..

Byram kicked off its voluntary recycling program in April with “grab bags” that included plastic bags, key chains, note pads, pens and a brochure..

The City of Byram’s Ready, Set, Recycle! Program kicked off in April and has been well-received by residents, said Lareka Washington, the city’s grants coordinator. Officials already are looking at expanding hours for the volunteer recycling program. The program is funded through a grant from the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality.

Residents have been dropping off their paper, plastic and cardboard at the Public Works Department where a 30-foot bin is housed inside the gate. An attendant is on hand to assist with the disposal of the recycled material and answer any questions.

The current hours are Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. except on holidays and every other Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon.

“Feedback from citizens has not been without recommendations and advice, with the main concern being the hours of operation,” Washington said.

Washington said plans are under way for Phase II of the Ready, Set, Recycle! Program, which will include expanding hours at the first location and providing a second drop-off facility with evening hours that are more accommodating to the working public.

To introduce the program, the city provided “grab bags” with an informational brochure, about the program, marketing items and  three blue recycle bags to get residents started with their recycling.

Washington said the program “grew out of an effort to provide an option for those citizens of Byram and the surrounding area seeking an alternative to disposing of everyday waste.” Once city officials learned about the opportunity to receive grant funds, the wheels were set in motion for Byram to start its first-ever recycle program.

“The first phase of the recycle program has surpassed expectations,” Washington said. “Since beginning in April, all 5,000 information packets have been disseminated across Byram and have helped in providing awareness and education to those interested in participating. One way I’ve been able to measure success is through the number of hauls requested for disposal of the material. It was anticipated the program would start slow and one haul per month would suffice.  Fast forward to today, where hauling is being requested once per week as opposed to once per month.”

The exact number of people recycling isn’t known but Washington said the recycle attendant has reported as many as 30 customers in one four-hour session, and the majority are repeat customers.

“It is estimated that we recycle around two tons of recyclable material per month, resulting in a combined total of 14-15 tons since beginning the program in April,” she said.

The city has contracted with Republic Services to haul the material on an as-needed basis, which has been once a week since the first month of the program. Material is hauled to an approved material recovery facility where it is processed for remanufacture.

So far the city has not profited from the program, but officials haven’t given up on the possibility. “We will continue to place all energies and focus on educating those who are not familiar with the program and providing quality customer service to our regular customers. Future plans do include some type of monthly rebate that will be reinvestment in the city,” Washington said.


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