Curbside recycling was costing City of Jackson $1 million a year

Updated: Aug. 20, 2019 at 7:04 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The City of Jackson is no longer encouraging residents to recycle.

It is joining more than 300 cities across the country to suspend curbside recycling as the demand for recycled materials has diminished drastically in recent months.

Issues over where plastics and paper actually end up led to the suspension of Jackson's curbside recycling program.

Public Works Director Robert Miller said he is concerned that recycling is going to landfills or accumulating until someone buys it because the price of recyclable materials collapsed in markets all over the U.S.

The City of Jackson paid Waste Management $96,000 a month for recycling - that’s $1,152,000 a year.

According to Miller, a change was recently negotiated to that contract that will eliminate that cost for the duration while recycling is suspended. The city has offered alternatives that residents must contact to continue recycling.

Jackson resident and recycler Sheryl Bey will use their suggested Environmentally Recycling Services.

“We did recycle, and I’m pleased to know that I can continue to recycle because young entrepreneurial individuals like Karissa Bowley and her partner have stepped in to fill the gap," said Bey.

Yet, many residents don’t participate in the recycling program.

“I guess it’s a good thing, but I just never did it,” said Robert Wilkerson. “I guess because, like I say, I don’t have the time to just sit there and recycle; do whatever needs to be done”.

Miller said the city will take funding from recycling to redirect it to clean up more than 100 illegal dumping sites identified in the city.

The program ends September 1st.

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