Students at Southern Oregon University push for recycling facility

It all started with a study conducted last year that found 75 percent of Southern Oregon University's (SOU) waste products could have been recycled by a nearby center, but was instead put into the garbage disposal, according to ABC news affiliate KDRV

The idea blossomed into a capstone project entitled the "Ecology Center of the Siskiyous," which then transformed into a push for a recycling center that ignited the student body and got everyone thinking a little greener. The group behind the project has raised $57,500 for the facility so far.

This wouldn't just entail construction. The students believe that just giving easier access to recycling bins could make a major difference in recycling habits. Economically, the plan makes sense to administration officials, who say that the initiative could save the school thousands each year.

So far, the students are hopeful that the agreement will be signed off and the center will open this coming fall, with students working to sort through the recycling materials.

An educational program about waste will also be held on how to reduce the amount of materials used by each student. The costs of the campaign, as well as the recycling center, will be covered by the Bonneville Environmental Foundation, SOU student funding, the Ted Turner foundation and the university itself.

"Hopefully this will put SOU on the path to having zero waste in five years," said student Misty Munoz, who was involved in the capstone project. "In the next two years, we should be recycling 75 percent of the recyclables [currently going into the dump]... that’s $49,000 in annual trash savings."

Munoz hopes that the project will continue with a digester next winter, which could help the university in its composting efforts.