Susanna Cassisa, an Oxford resident and University of Mississippi student, has found it difficult to access recycling services in Oxford. Residents who live in apartment complexes or rural areas may find it more challenging to recycle than others.
“I wish off-campus student housing would have recycling options for us,” said Cassisa. “College students use a lot of recyclable products. I think recycling needs to be more accessible. My family recycles a lot, but it’s hard for me to find access living off-campus in an apartment complex.”
We are often too busy to consider what happens to the endless amount of trash we produce, but it isn’t insignificant.
In 2014, the U.S. accumulated over 258 million tons of garbage, according to frontiergroup.org, an organization with its main office in Santa Barabara, California, ran by a group of policy analysts who provide information and ideas to help citizens build a cleaner, healthier and more democratic America.
Fortunately, there’s an easy way to reduce the amount of garbage we produce. Recycling programs can be found in most cities and towns across the country.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, recycling saves energy, conserves resources like water and timber, and stimulates the economy by creating jobs. In 2013, Americans recycled 87 million tons of material, resulting in a 34.3% recycling rate. Some materials, like metal and glass, can be recycled many times.
Even in Oxford, you can find recycling bins on the sidewalk, neighborhood curbsides, and outside storefronts. Oxford has three recycling centers – one is on Molly Barr Road, one on Hwy 7 at Fire Station #3, and the third at the landfill on County Rd 321.
They accept #1 and #2 plastics, cardboard, and paper. The city offers curbside recycling at a rate of $15 per house, and an additional $6 per additional bin.
Michelle Robinson, recycling coordinator for the city of Oxford, said about 45% of Oxford residents within city limits opt for curbside recycling pickup, accounting for approximately four tons of recyclable material daily.
With easy access and great benefits, you would think recycling programs would rise everywhere, but Robinson suggests otherwise.
“Towns are stopping [recycling programs] in Mississippi because they are having a hard time selling their material,” said Robinson.
There is no law in Mississippi requiring recycling bins to be distributed within towns unlike many states, such as Connecticut, where citizens may be fined for throwing out a certain percentage of recyclable material.
California and Illinois have recycling quotas, while other states like Michigan and Wisconsin have enacted landfill bans of recyclables.