DeSoto County officials are making a major push for residents in unincorporated areas to sign up for curbside recycling, which is being offered to rural residents for the first time in the county's history.
In fact, county officials are hoping to sign up large numbers of individuals wishing to have curbside recycling in the effort to keep recycling costs to county taxpayers at a moderate cost, or at least within competitive levels compared to other recycling providers within the industry.
The discussion arose producing a vote to finalize a contract with Waste Pro USA in Southaven for its garbage, recycling and commercial collections services.
The company won the bid to handle the county's unincorporated garbage and recycling services.
Waste Pro begins countywide garbage pickup on Oct. 2 and individuals signing up for recycling will begin receiving recycling bins as well as garbage containers.
Under the terms of the contract, if 3,500 or less residents in unincorporated areas sign up for curbside recycling, the monthly price for residential waste and recyclable materials once-weekly pickup with a 95-gallon cart is $8.66.
If there is less than 4,500 residents but more than 3,500, that cost escalates to $8.76 per month, per residential household. If there is less than 5,500 residents but more than 4,500, that cost jumps to $8.86 per month for residents. With 5,500 or more, the fee for recycling is $8.96 per month per household, which is still within competitive pricing in the garbage and recycling industry, county officials point out.
Right now, only about 1,000 people have signed up — after years of pleas from unincorporated county residents to have curbside recycling pickup.
"We hope for more participation than less," said District 2 Supervisor Mark Gardner.
Environmental Services Manager Ray Laughter gave an update to supervisors on the recycling efforts.
"We are at about 1,000 right now — we hope to grow that number," Laughter said.
To sign up for county recycling visit desotocountyms.gov and click on the environmental services icon which will direct the browser to recycling.
District 3 Supervisor Bill Russell also hoped that the number of unincorporated residents signing up for recycling would increase.
"We pushed really hard at that number," Russell said.
"We've been trying to get recycling pickup for years," Gardner said.
Russell did acknowledge that it was hard enough trying to explain to the public they would be able to get curbside recycling, and now county officials are explaining that either too few or too many recycling customers will affect costs.
"It's still a tremendous value compared to what I pay for half the service in Southaven," Gardner said.
Board President Michael Lee observed that the more people who participate in recycling saves costs to taxpayers by reduced costs to the landfill.
"Plus, it saves the earth," Gardner said.
Supervisors comprising the county recycling committee will determine when and if the existing recycling trailers placed around the county will be phased out, since recycling is now being offered curbside.
There was some discussion that a single recycling center at the County Rubbish Pit on Sandidge Road could be established to handle larger recyclable items and or potentially hazardous materials.
Supervisors also said that the county's current provider, Waste Connections, will not pick up any more existing garbage carts until waste Pro takes over.
District 4 Supervisor Lee Caldwell said 1,000 carts were pulled prematurely, "more than three weeks ago."
"That caused a problem," Caldwell said.
Laughter said in an effort to respond to residents, county crews dispatched 240 carts last week.
Caldwell said much of the problem was customers being left off a list provided to the new provider from the existing provider.
"People were left off that list," Caldwell said. "If people will call us and let us know we will respond to them."
Robert Lee Long is Community Editor of the DeSoto Times-Tribune. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 662-429-6397, Ext. 252.