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Recycling center celebrates successful first year

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RecyclingCenterCelebrates STock

By Kari Miller
County liaison to Polk County Recycling & Beautification

As you know, PCRB is the nonprofit organization that you have partnered with to run the recycling center built and equipped last year; and now also the new satellite collection station recently opened in Onalaska. In just over a year, we have collected almost 100,000 pounds of recyclables, sold about 62,000 pounds, and received almost $4,000 in sales revenue (just over 6 cents per pound), which has covered almost 14% of operational costs. We are about halfway to our next load of cardboard and our first load of plastic. May the market for these materials be booming when we’re ready to sell.

The recycling center on Hwy. 146, at the Citizen Collection Station, is open Tuesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 3p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. This facility takes corrugated cardboard, aluminum cans, steel cans, all single-use plastic household containers, and plastic grocery bags and other film, like shrink wrap. The Citizen Collection Station on Onalaska Loop has a recycling drop-off that is open on Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and takes everything the 146 site takes except for steel cans.

It is free to drop off these recyclable materials at both sites, but they will only be accepted if they are clean, since drink and food residue get moldy, stinky, and attract pests; and the materials really should come presorted since most of the sorting now is done by hand by volunteers.

We estimate that up to 4% of Polk County households have utilized our recycling program in the last year. As the population that takes advantage of this service grows, more materials will be coming in. However, the number of regular volunteers at the recycling center hasn’t changed in the last 9-10 months, and without more volunteers, people sorting their own materials may eventually become necessary.

PCRB has one paid employee. He is the operations manager, coordinating all activities at the recycling center and recycling drop-off site, from managing the volunteers to baling and storing to handling the transport of materials and more. A portion of his salary was paid this year by a TCEQ grant that Polk County received via DETCOG, and hopefully TCEQ will approve for that grant to be continued for next year. We, in fact, had an inspection Monday. DETCOG and TCEQ representatives visited with the operations manager and myself at the recycling center, and were very impressed with the facility that the county has provided - in part with grant funds TCEQ has provided - the variety of materials collected, the order and cleanliness within the building, and the reach of our recycling program within its first year.

I have to give the biggest thanks to all of the volunteers that are making this program a success. Without them, PCRB could not provide this service. The operations manager has 14 volunteers that work regularly at the 146 site, either every week or every other week, and six volunteers that help him keep the Onalaska site running. There are several others that volunteer when they can. He can always use more volunteers, and I can personally attest that it can be fun, and very rewarding. PCRB has many other opportunities to volunteer outside of the center, so anyone that has an interest in the organization should visit the website at PCRBTexas.org and sign up.

I also want to thank the PCRB board members and the members of this commissioners court who have been committed to seeing a successful recycling program in Polk County. I believe this first year was very successful and look forward to seeing the organization and the recycling program grow in the years to come. And I invite those that want to participate to reach out.

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