The City of Starkville has decided to eliminate the town's standard recycling process and has found another way to stay green. This new system ensures Starkville will remain an eco-friendly city while cutting recycling costs for the city and its residents.
According to Starkville Mayor Lynn Spruill, the Golden Triangle Regional Landfill Authority's green power program has successfully replaced the former WastePro recycling program. This new way to "reduce, reuse and recycle" involves efficiently transforming trash into energy. According to the Daily Times Leader, the landfill has been converting trash into green energy since 2011.
Mayor Spruill explained the former recycling program was suspended due to the inefficient work performed, immoderate price and the decline of the recyclables market to near extinction.
"At this point and time, we have gone from drop-off recycling to curbside recycling to drop-off recycling again due to pandemic, and we are now going to suspend traditional recycling in its entirety. It has gotten to the point now where there is very little to no market for recyclables," Spruill said. "Those who have taken our recyclables have cut back dramatically on the types of things they will accept, and so, it is now costing us in the neighborhood of about $40,000 a year to recycle, with no understanding of if the items are actually getting recycled."
Spruill said a recycling fee was added to participating residents' bills, but the fee will vanish beginning Oct. 1.
"Those participating in the program had a $2 fee added to their monthly bill for water, utilities and sanitation. So that will be removed, and the recycling drop-off bins will go away as well," Spruill said.
Michiah Bromley, a sophomore majoring in finance, understands the reason behind the dismissal of the old program and agrees the program would only be holding back Starkville financially.
"If there is not a market for it and they are losing tons of money, then the traditional recycling program seems to be more of a detriment than anything," Bromley said. "It would be understandable to shut it down if there is not a profit nor proof of the materials being recycled. Obviously, recycling is good. But if they are not able to keep it up and if the process is just simply ineffective at the moment, then it is completely justified, and they should be stopping it for now."
Bromley believes in the adoption of the green power plan and feels it would be a great way for the city to proceed in their efforts at being environmentally friendly.
"If the green power program is efficient and providing clean energy, then it is OK to say goodbye to the old program as long as Starkville is continuing to recycle in other forms. I'm happy to say that I agree that this form will be quite beneficial and bring us in a step in the right direction," Bromley said.
Lifelong Starkville resident Maggie Fischer is proud of the changes Mayor Spruill has set into place and believes the right call has been made to ensure satisfaction among the town.
"I think Mayor Spruill is being responsible and making better choices for our town to keep us from wasting money on programs that aren't actually making any difference for our community. Being from Starkville, it's great to know we're being led by someone who can make sure that programs we fund are effective and someone who makes sure our community can always be the best version of itself," Fischer said.
Fischer wants to see the city flourish and thinks any initiative to be environmentally conscious is a great way to start.
"The new green power program sounds just as resourceful as the former recycling program, so I think if Starkville is finding a way to keep recycling at a cheaper cost to the city and its citizens, then everybody should be at ease. The subtraction of the recycling fee is nice addition to all this as well," Fischer said.
Fischer explained while the recycling is a great way for Starkville to make an impact, Starkville could go even greener by sharing the importance of recycling and what it is to be eco-friendly through the surrounding school systems.
"Exposure starts through the schools, so to begin promoting these values would be a game-changer and allow the idea to influence schoolchildren would allow Starkville an even greener future," Fischer said.