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MDEQ Awards Solid Waste Assistance Grant to Ridgeland

water bottle fillerThe City of Ridgeland has been awarded a solid waste assistance grant of $15,400 that will be used by the city for its recycling and waste reduction programs, according to a press release dated June 22, 2016 from The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ).

“The Solid Waste Assistance Grants support a variety of useful solid waste management activities for cities and counties, and this grant will assist Ridgeland’s efforts in improving their management of solid waste,” said Gary Rikard, MDEQ Executive Director.

Ridgeland will purchase two solar-powered compactors for recyclables and one water bottle filling station with the grant. ”The purpose for these purchases is to provide additional opportunities for residents to recycle and to encourage the use of refillable water bottles rather than using disposable ones,” said John M. McCollum, City of Ridgeland Public Works Director.

The new solar-powered compactors will be placed at Hite Wolcott Park to encourage more recycling at that facility. Four compactors are already installed at Freedom Ridge Park and one at the Multiuse Trailhead Facility.

The water bottle filling station will be installed at Friendship Park. While the City of Ridgeland has several water fountains along the multi-use trail, this will be the first dedicated water bottle-filler in the city.

City officials are enthusiastic about what the grant is allowing the city to do, not only for environmental stewardship but also for environmental awareness. The city has long been a leader in recycling but the water bottle-filler is a new way for Ridgeland to expand on its efforts to conserve resources.

Disposable plastic water bottles are known for polluting the environment. They also require the use of fossil fuels to make, and the plastic may be leaching chemicals into drinking water. A more environmentally-friendly and healthier choice is to reuse non-disposable water bottles such as those made of steel.

“We want to encourage all visitors to our parks to make use of the recycling compactors and the new water bottle-filler. If we all do our part, we can help to conserve our natural resources. It’s just the right thing to do,” said Mayor Gene McGee.

“At Ridgeland, we do not hesitate to help other cities grow their efforts in waste reduction and recycling by sharing information and providing guidance. Persons interested in learning more about our solid waste programs may reach me at 601-853-2027,” said McCollum. “A large part of our success is due to the grants that we have received from MDEQ. We want to thank them for supporting our programs and helping to make our efforts possible.”

Cities and counties may apply for Solid Waste Assistance Grants through the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality. These grants are used by local communities for programs to prevent and clean up unauthorized dumps; to aid in hiring local solid waste enforcement officers; for public education efforts on solid waste disposal and recycling; and to establish programs for the collection of white goods, bulky wastes and recyclables. Information about this grant program and other initiatives is available at www.deq.state.ms.us/solidwaste.