Mississippi struggles to increase recycling rates
In 2002, Mississippi had the lowest recycling rate of all states, recycling less than 1% of the total municipal waste stream, according to a 2005 study by the National Solid Wastes Management Association.
Though recycling rates have risen in the past decade, the state still ranks low compared to other states, like Oregon and Minnesota, which are hovering around 50% recycling rates.
The main issue is lack of curbside recycling programs and recycling drop-off points across the state. The landfill tipping fees are also very low in Mississippi, making landfilling the preferred way to dispose of waste.
Only about 10% of state municipalities have access to recycling. By urging local governments to increase access to curbside recycling and drop-off locations, recycling rates are sure to increase. You can help in the effort by speaking with your local government.
Why is recycling important anyway?
It does matter where the waste from your trash bin or dumpster goes, and not only for the obvious environmental benefits.
Recycling also creates jobs. According to the EPA, sending 10,000 lbs. of waste to the landfill creates 1 job while the same amount of waste sent to recycling facilities creates 10 recycling-related jobs or 75 material reuse jobs.
The recycling industry can have a major impact on a state’s economy, and everyone benefits from it, including the environment.
How to dispose of “special” wastes
Wastes like construction and demolition (C&D) debris, medical wastes, industrial wastes, e-waste and lead-acid batteries should not be mixed in with the general waste stream.
The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) regulates proper recycling and disposal of special wastes.
You can learn how to safely and properly dispose of these wastes at the following link:
Where to dispose of “_____” in Mississippi
Items like scrap tires, fluorescent lamps, computers and batteries can be tough to dispose of properly. The MDEQ offers some useful information for disposing of a variety of materials and debris.
The MDEQ encourages residents to compost yard debris and food scraps in an effort to reduce landfill waste. About 25% of waste landfilled in the U.S. is compostable, including materials such as:
- Vegetable and fruit scraps
- Eggs shells
- Vacuum cleaner residuals
- Dryer lint
- Coffee and coffee filters
- Yard debris (e.g., grass clippings, leaves, branches)