A Word About Recycling with Ollie Maier

The Recycling efforts of Texas

Too often these columns report what is happening in other states, the nation and other countries. So today we’ll correct that by covering some information received in a Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) report on recycling efforts in this state.

Please note the information here is from the 2015 report as the 2016 report has not been finalized yet. (Expect a report on 2016’s figures as soon as we get them.)

The TCEQ report started with the explanation: “Public and private programs for reducing, reusing, and recycling assist in preserving disposal capacity in landfills.” (It would have been nice for them to also mention how it saves natural resources for future generations.)

It went on to say, “Throughout the state, paper, glass, aluminum cans, plastic, scrap metal, wood, electronics, scrap tires, and numerous other materials are recycled every day.”

It should also be noted there is currently no law requiring any group (public or private) involved in recycling to give reports to our state on the amounts they handle each year. Thus, the TCEQ statement early on stating: “Currently, the effect of recycling in Texas is difficult to measure.” This means the figures shown here are only from a survey conducted at the end of Calendar Year 2015 by TCEQ.

In their report, one must remember the information they received through their survey is more or less just voluntarily given and may not be totally accurate. (Some private companies might not want the state to know exactly how much money is received by the recycling efforts as it could affect their taxes.)

Even with that being the case, here are some of the totals TCEQ has for 2015. The amounts shown here come from 111 landfills and 89 processing facilities. The good news is for 2015, over 1.3 million tons were diverted from landfills for recycling or reuse.

In the area of electronics, approximately 30.5 million pounds were recycled (mostly TVs and computers). This information comes primarily from businesses that sell such items and take in the older product from customers.

The state also encourages the recycling of scrap tires as they “can be a valuable commodity when properly managed and used for producing various products such as crumb rubber, mulch and thermal insulators; utilized for civil engineering projects; or processed as a fuel source.”

Thus it was pleasing to note that in 2015, approximately 32 million used and/or scrap tires were collected. (Unfortunately, I am sure there are still a lot of these old tires in backyards, trash heaps, garages, etc. just taking up space or being a home to undesirable insects such as mosquitoes.)

Another item being collected by many landfills and recycling drop-off sites is compostable materials. Some of the materials collected are yard trimmings, clean wood material, vegetative materials, paper, manure, disposable diapers, animal carcasses, etc. In 2015, approximately 605,000 tons of such organic materials were composted.

Next week, we will continue with the amounts TCEQ gathered from their survey. It will include metal, glass, plastics, construction/demolition waste, paper, cardboard, white goods (refrigerators, freezers, stoves, wash machines, dryers, etc.), shingles, used oil and unclassified (by them) materials.


Till then, do have a great week...

San Marcos Daily Record

(512) 392-2458
P.O. Box 1109, San Marcos, TX 78666