City-wide recycling may mean the end for one local business

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - About 3,500 Hattiesburg households will start taking blue recycling bins to the curb every week in January, or the city will have to start dipping into its savings, and the three-year contract with WastePro will be in jeopardy come 2015.

But while it may not cost you anything, it may cost Leslee Davenport - Hattiesburg's resident "recycling lady" - her business.

When she started Hub City Recycling four years ago, Davenport dreamed of the day city-wide recycling would come, and now that it has, the city has chosen a bigger, cheaper company to do the job.

"I visited with her and I feel bad for her, but she can't fit the city's needs," Bradley said. "I believe that there are other avenues for her to grow her business, it's just that for the citizens of Hattiesburg, we're going to take care of them ourselves."

Davenport lugs 20,000 pounds of waste a month herself and, charging 13 dollars a month, she can't compete with the city's new free-of-charge program.

Davenport said she'll lose about two thirds of her customers, but she'll go further out, and try to pick up apartment complexes the city isn't serving.

It's taken Davenport four years to grow 350 customers, the city hopes to have ten times that many recycling by this summer.

So the program is in the hands of the community - promoting recycling in schools - the city's hoping that residents will take after Davenport, and the garbage can at the end of the driveway will have some company.

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