Rumpke and Oxford Environmental Commission to Discuss Plans for Increased Recylcing

By Chase Bailey

Oxford residents, already the most active recyclers in Butler County, could nearly quadruple their recycling capacity by the end of next year.

At least, that’s what members of the Oxford Environmental Commission hope might be one outcome in the city’s next contract with Rumpke Waste & Recycling.

The commission will meet with a Rumpke representative this coming Wednesday, Nov. 7,  to begin talks about re-negotiating the city’s contract with Rumpke when it expires at the end of 2019.

The new contract could establish tiered levels of waste removal, in which residences would be limited to a certain number of trash containers with unlimited recycling.

Encouraging Greater Recycling

David Treleaven, Oxford’s environmental specialist, said this tiered approach would encourage people to recycle more.

Oxford residents are presently provided with an 18- to 23-gallon container for recyclable materials. The commission would like all residences to instead receive a 65-gallon recyclables cart as the default.

“Currently about 700 of 3,200 residences have decided to upgrade to the new cart,” said Molly Yeager Broadwater, Rumpke’s corporate communications manager.

According to 2017 data, Oxford recycles about 18.5 percent of its waste – more than any other city in Butler County. “You can recycle about four times more material using the cart,” Yeager said.

The City of Oxford charges residents $17.60 each month for Rumpke waste service. This includes the current red recycling bins. Residents who request a 65-gallon cart for recyclables pay $1 more a month.

The Environmental Commission is set to speak with Dean Ferrier, Rumpke’s municipal contract representative, at its Wednesday meeting to discuss the city’s options. Treleaven would like to see if any extra costs for the 65-gallon cart can be rolled into the price for trash removal, in order to keep the recycling costs as low as possible.

At its last meeting, on Oct. 3, commission members considered inviting other waste-removal service providers, such as Waste Management, to bid for Oxford’s trash business. “We talked about it, but at this point, wee just going to talk to Dean [Ferrier] and see where that goes,” Commission Chair Wright Gwyn said.

In the mid-1990s, Oxford attempted to inspire recycling by limiting residents to two trash containers, but unlimited recycling.

Although this led to a lot of illegal dumping, “it really did help on our recycling,” Treleaven said.

Recycling Reduces Carbon Footprint

Diverting more waste to recycling would help reduce Oxford’s community carbon footprint – something Miami University graduate students Kelsey Forren and Shachi Vaish are aiming to accomplish as part of a Professional Service Project. The two will look mostly at what Oxford citizens contribute to the footprint in a project that will continue through at least Winter Term.

These changes may not help, however, with the amount of waste produced by the end-of-year Miami student “Move-Out.”

“I can’t really picture it, unfortunately,” Treleaven said. “Move-Out—it’s a necessary evil nowadays.”

According to Treleaven, students produce what equates to one month of Oxford trash when they leave the city each May.