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Six Cities Win Recycling Grants, Oxford Gets Largest

By Sandra Knispel | Published 11 Jan 2011 08:49am | comments

The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality has awarded six grants to local governments, ranging from $40,000 to $100,000 to help with their recycling. MPB’s Sandra Knispel reports from Oxford, which won the largest materials conservation grant.

[Nat sound of recycling] That’s the sound of steel cans falling out at the sides as a crushed parcel of cans emerges from the compactor. The Oxford Recycling Center is busy, especially at this time of year.

“Right now we’re doing good to get finished every day. Especially right here after Christmas. We’re just overwhelmed with so many recyclables.”

Amberlyn Liles, the city’s recycling coordinator, has something to celebrate. Oxford just won a $100, 000 dollar materials conservation grant from the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality. More than half will be spent on recycling containers for the University of Mississippi. The rest is earmarked for a skid steer loader.

Already Liles is investigating more grants for the center that’s bursting at the seams. Topping Liles’s wish list are "more Space and of course labor."

The center hasn’t broken even for the last three years but the city’s top recycler hopes to reach that goal this year.

“We’re not getting rich," Liles said. "What we’re trying to do is a good thing for the environment plus not pass on a cost to the consumer.”

Not just residential curbside recycling is gaining in popularity. Businesses around town are part of the pick-up system, too. One big recycler is Sneed’s Ace Hardware where Glenn Neilson works in the paint section.

“It absolutely takes no effort whatsoever to grab your cardboard that we’re taking stuff out of the boxes here… grab it and throw it in the bin out back," Neilson said. "I mean if it’s that easy then why not go ahead and do it?”

Five other local Mississippi governments are also recipients of MDEQ money, stemming from the Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009: Calhoun County and the cities of Pascagoula, Pearl, Quitman and Starkville.

Sandra Knispel, MPB News, Oxford.

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