Recycling makes treasure of trash

By Katrina Goforth -

Trash has been a focus for many in the Altus community with a new contractor for bulk trash service and an online update available for residents to track where and when bulk trash services will be coming to a particular area.

According to the Oklahoma Policy Institute, Oklahoma has one of the cheapest landfill disposal rates in the country. In 2011, Oklahoma spent, on average, $22.22 per ton in waste disposal, making dumping in landfills a more viable option for municipal authorities than implementing more expensive recycling programs.

Though there are products that are simply not good for recycling, according to the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality, 80 percent of Oklahoma trash has the potential to be recycled.

Private recycling services such as Southwest Metal and Trade Company provide recycling services for scrap metal.

Walmart provides recycling bins in the customer service department for plastic grocery bags, O’Reilly Auto Parts and AutoZone accept used motor oil and transmission fluid for recycling, and Home Depot and Lowes will recycle compact fluorescent light bulbs.

Many of these establishments do not charge for recycling services.

One of the main expenses of recycling comes from a lack of participation. Tulsa and Oklahoma City have implemented recycling programs in recent years with low percentages of waste collected being recycled materials. These programs focus mainly on recycling aluminum and steel cans, paper and cardboard, rigid plastic, and glass jars and bottles.

The lack of participation makes the use of utility services an expense that is difficult to justify for many communities, though both Tulsa and Oklahoma City continue to develop and strengthen citywide recycling programs.

Reducing the amount of non-recyclable materials used and reusing products that would otherwise end up in a landfill are steps toward implementing a routine of recycling.

Simple ways to cut down on trash include drinking from reusable water bottles instead of plastic disposable bottles, using cloth grocery bags instead of plastic grocery bags, and buying used items from and donating unwanted items to consignment shops, when products are still in good working condition.

By Katrina Goforth

Reach Katrina Goforth at 580-482-1221, ext. 2077.

Reach Katrina Goforth at 580-482-1221, ext. 2077.

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