Alternatives to curb-side recycling

By Donna McCollum - bio | email

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - The market for recyclables has bottomed out nationwide. It's causing recycling centers in lots of places to change their programs. For those accustomed to recycling their old habits are hard to break. For just over a month curbside recycling ended in Nacogdoches when Lufkin restricted the amount of outside recycles.

Customers who used curb-side recycling still aren't accustomed to the change. "We're throwing away a lot more trash and we're feeling guilty," Michelle Rusk said. Rusk not only recycles from her own home, but has encouraged many of her neighbors to join her.

In Nacogdoches recycling is limited to only paper and cardboard.  Marilyn Smithhart travels from Garrison to the Nacogdoches landfill. "It would be nice if we could have a place to throw plastics and can goods," Smithhart said.

The idea of only recycling paper and cardboard is a tough rule to follow for die hard recyclers. But there are places that will accept other recyclables. You just have to seek them out. Shipping stores usually accept Styrofoam peanuts that escape from your packages. Non profits, like the Nacogdoches Animal Shelter accept aluminum drink cans. Bigger scrap metals can be taken to metal recycling centers and you get cash in return.

As for the cans in your pantry, try to limit the number you buy in the first place. "Instead of buying the canned soup, we're actually going to just use the fresh lentils or beans and make soup," Rusk said. She finds herself shopping packaging more than what it holds.

Recycle advocates view all this extra effort as a temporary setback. "It's all driven by the market," John Boyette, Keep Nacogdoches Beautiful volunteer explained. "But that will come back, just like everything else. When the economy rebounds some of this material will have more value."

In the meantime, the goal is not to let the recycling effort die with the market. Education must continue to keep people in the recycling habit.

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