Recycling options in Wichita Falls will soon become more limited. In just about a week, Progressive Waste Solutions will remove its recycling bins from locations across the city.
The single-stream recycling bins are currently set up at six different locations across the city. There are bins at: Sikes Senter Mall, MSU, River Bend Nature Center, Sutherlands, United Market Street, and Texoma Community Credit Union near SAFB.
Company officials said it’s their massive success with recycling in Wichita Falls that's forcing them to stop service. Over the past three years, the amount of material collected has grown drastically from zero tons collected per month to nearly 30 tons per month, according to Progressive Waste Solution officials.
Due to the fact that so many people drop off their recyclable goods at those locations Progressive Waste Solutions can't keep up with the demand. Although they pick up items from those bins five days a week it’s still not enough to keep the trash from piling up and blowing across business parking lots.
“This problem started a while back for the businesses that sponsored this program to where the materials were getting loose and blowing in the parking lot and the businesses that are sponsoring us to put them there were having to clean up the mess,” said Mike Gaver, NWT District Municipal Marketing Manager for Progressive Waste Solutions.
Another factor is the cost.
“Right now, the recycle market on a secondary market has actually tanked,” said Gaver.
Although processing and operations costs have remained the same, the money Progressive Waste Solutions is getting back has diminished, according to Gaver. The change has made the free recycling in Wichita Falls no longer viable option.
“Basically it’s not feasible just to keep running a free program like this when the materials are not worth what they were,” said Gaver.
However, it’s not goodbye to recycling altogether. Although the services are leaving city leaders said it’s a good time to take advantage to the other recycling services Wichita Falls has to offer.
“We offer it as an option,” said Teresa Rose, Deputy Director of Public Works for Wichita Falls. “It is $3 a month and basically what that charge covers is our actual collection of it.”
The city’s compost station is close by and the city also offers portable drop off bins for glass, newspaper, and aluminum.
However the one item that cannot be collected through city recycling is plastic. It’s a major downfall for residents like Karl Hofmann who have made the collection of those a routine.
“Every couple of weeks I bring two or three bags up filled with plastic bottles,” said Hofmann. “I’m going to try and find another place for the bottle but I think a lot of people is just going to throw their stuff away.”
City officials said because the free service is going away they are looking at options for plastic recycling. Right now they are testing a pilot program for the product to see if it would be an affordable option to bring to residents.
Although Progressive Waste Solutions bins will be removed company officials said they’re not giving up just yet. If they receive enough support from the public they will approach the city with the options of individual household contracts.
It’s an option that would require city leaders to alter a city ordinance. The cost could be $7 for those how would want to continue the service.
You can just give Progressive Waste Solutions a call, to let them know you may be interested.