Starting on the right foot

Published 12:36 am Friday, August 21, 2009

It has been said that the longest journey begins with the first step.

Concerned citizens convened at the Selma-Dallas County Public Library Thursday morning to discuss revamping recycling awareness, programs and initiatives.

It was the first step in changing the area’s mindset by emphasizing the importance of recycling.

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“Recycling encompasses a lot more than just taking the paper, plastics and cans,” said Ward 2 Councilwoman and meeting conductor Susan Keith. “It’s just hard to get thought processes changed.

“What’s recyclable? Everything is recyclable.”

On a dry-erase board, she wrote out the aspects of daily life recycling can impact, several suggested by the audience.

These aspects include health, livability, money, litter, environment and attitude.

“We’ve got to change attitudes and have people understand the reasons why, instead of the excuses why not,” said Keith. “We’ll start small. It’s going to be a grassroots effort and it’s going to take some effort on the community’s part.”

Calhoun Food manager Jimmie Coleman left the meeting with a better understanding of the do’s and don’ts of recycling. For instance, he learned green and black plastics are not supposed to be mixed together.

“[Keith] wants to beautify Selma,” said Coleman. “One of they key things she wanted to make a point in the community about and let them know about recycling.”

Plastics — grocery bags in particular — were a popular topic of conversation during the meeting. All in attendance are now aware that they can recycle their grocery bags at the Winn-Dixie on Dallas Avenue.

Mayor George Evans acknowledged that the process will be difficult, but Selma needs to embrace recycling.

“Recycling is just a way of life,” he said. “It’s not going to go away. This is something we must take on.”

Recycling programs and options were not the only topics of conversation.

Keith announced that there are plans to create an environmental court in 2010 that will solely deal with people who litter or don’t follow environmental codes.

“We only have so much land,” she said. “How do we want to use that land? Do we want to fill it up with garbage, or do we want to fill it up with gardens and playgrounds? It’s a matter of priorities. What are our priorities?”