City discusses recycling program

The city encourages residents to participate in the Green Bin curbside pickup. For $3 per month, residents will get container in which they can place yard waste, paper, cardboard and fruit and vegetable scraps. The bins are picked up weekly. Municipal Solid Waste Green Bin participants are also entitled to a twice-annual truck or trailer-load of compost that can be picked up at the landfill. “We are very, very environmentally friendly,” Schreiber said. Times Record News file photo Organic waste such as tree limbs, grass clippings, cardboard and newsprint are ground into


a fine mulch by a massive grinder at the City of Wichita Falls Landfill. The mulch is then worked in piles and over time become rich compost.

Resident who have a Green Bin are entitled to two loads of compost each year. The program collects solid waste from the water treatment plant, wood, paper, cardboard, yard clippings, and fruit and vegetable food scraps. Since that time, the landfill issues have been resolved, adding another 200 years to the life of the landfill.

Create your own infographics The city’s organic compost is an amazing product, Lehfedlt said, that benefit large and small home gardens. Call the sanitation department to get your Green Bin at (940) 761-7977. Times Record News file photo Javier Villa, left, and Oscar Gillegos pre-sort the initial stream of materials as they separate trash from the various recyclables such as paper, cardboard, plastic, metals and glass at the Progressive Waste Solutions Material Recovery Facility in McKinney. Single-stream recycling is a very expensive, labor-intensive process and much of the waste is put in the landfill anyway due to contamination. Progressive bins were removed in November in most of the Wichita Falls area with the company citing high costs. The recycled material is mixed and piled in a variety of cycles until it turns into nutrient-rich compost.

The parks department uses the majority of the compost and the remainder is available for residents who participate in the curbside Green Bin program. “An apple causes more damage than a plastic bottle,” he said. Single-stream recycling collects about 60 percent of municipal waste, but Schreiber said it’s likely that about 40 percent of waste collected goes to the landfill anyway because of contamination. Much of the conversation about single-stream recycling is about the reuse of plastics, Schreiber said. Sanitation Superintendent David Lehfeldt said organic material in the landfill emits methane gas as it decomposes, causing damage to the atmosphere. The city also recycles 175 tons of newspaper, 53 tons of glass, one to two tons of aluminum, and 375 tons of scrap metal each year. There are about 8,000 participants in the Green Bin program, about 25 percent participation, which is good for an optional program Schreiber said. Beginning in the 1990s, single-stream recycling gained popularity around the country.

The main benefit of this type of recycling, Schreiber said, is the convenience to the customer. All of the recyclable materials (glass, food scraps, paper, plastic, aluminum) are collected in one curbside pickup bin without the resident having to sort the items. The container is then taken to a materials recovery facility (MRF) where the materials are sorted by hand or machine. Prompted by recent public interest in single-stream recycling, Wichita Falls Public Works Director Russell Schreiber gave a presentation to staff about the city’s recycling options. Only 11 percent of waste is plastics and of the seven types of plastic manufactured, there are only two types where there is a market for recyclability.

The only viable way to have a single-stream recycling program would be if there was a MRF center in Wichita Falls or a large increase to each resident’s waste pickup bill. Among curbside Green Bin organic pickup, and newspaper, glass and metal recycling at 14 centers around the city, recycling possibilities have grown tremendously over the past 20 years. The organic recycling program began in 1994 because there was landfill-space issues and it was what the public wanted, Schreiber said. Wichita Falls does not have a MRF and waste would have to be driven about 120 miles to Denton, which has the closest MRF. Schreiber likens the process to scrambling an egg and then trying to separate it again. He said the process is extremely expensive and it is unclear how much of the collected material can actually be recycled.

For more information, visit http://www. wichitafallstx. gov/464/Recycling–Keeping-it-Green.

What has the potential for more damage to the environment – an apple core or a plastic bottle? The answer may surprise you. Curbside Single Stream Cities The city keeps 10,000 tons of wastewater sludge out of the landfill by putting it in the compost system. With solid waste recycling and curbside pickup, the city keeps more than 2,000 tons of additional material out of the landfill. Mayor Glenn Barham and city staff said they are impressed with the city’s current recycling program and saw no need to make any changes at this time. “We currently have the potential to recycle nearly 90 percent of municipal waste,” Schreiber said.

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