LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Time is running out for the Angelina County landfill as the amount of garbage coming in is growing. The County recently purchased 373 acres of land for future landfill development.
From the top of the Agelina County Landfill is a clear view of land that will be developed as the new landfill, once the existing one fills up. It is something the County is already preparing for.
Chris Fitzgerald of the Angelina County Landfill said, "It takes about three or four years to get a permit approved for a new landfill. We'll be working on that in the background so that when we get close to where we need to be, we'll have the material available."
Ten counties send their garbage there. They dump more than 400 tons of trash each day. That number is on the rise. "We're considered a regional landfill where they bring all of this stuff to us," said Fitzgerald.
The mountain of trash will continue to grow for the next 18 years, but the land just beyond the existing landfill line will give county another 50 or 60 years more.
The County Landfill said it is a safe estimate, but could change if the amount of refuse continues to grow. Running out of room is avoidable, as much of the trash dumped there is recyclable. "If people are interested in recycling, then they need to start at the source and follow that recycling back to the recycling center or wherever they want to put it," said Fitzgerald.
An entire warehouse at the Lufkin Recycling Center is filled with "trash," but it's not going to the landfill. East Texans may have tossed it, but into the recycle bin.
Lynn Winthrop with the City of Lufkin said, "It leaves your house. You don't want it anymore. But the point is that it's still good for something. It can be turned into something else."
A third of what goes into landfills is paper, which sits for years, just taking up space. It's precious room that recycling can help the county protect. Winthrop said, "The landfill's going to fill up faster. If you're not aware, they're not building more landfills, this one's adding on. Most are and they're not building new ones, so one day it's going to be a problem."
Both Fitzgerald and Winthrop agree recycling can help keep the problem from being passed to future generations.