Alton expanding recycling program

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In an effort to help create a sense of mindfulness for the environment, the city of Alton recently expanded their recycling program for their residents.

Earlier this month, the city set up a dozen bins all over the Sylvia Vela Park located right next to the Alton City Hall. This move, according to city officials is to motivate its residents to recycle more.

According to Alton’s Recycling Coordinator Martha Alaniz, the city currently has two recycling drop off points, one located behind the city’s fire department and the other next two the Stars Drive-In.

“Even though they are used by people, those drop off points only accept paper and cardboard products,” Alaniz said. “The bins accept that as well as plastic and aluminum, which is usually found in cans and bottles that most of the people in the park use to drink water while they’re in the park.”

Alaniz added that there are plans to add recycling bins at the city’s Josefa Garcia Memorial Park this coming spring.

Alton doesn’t have curbside recycling bins for its residents so people typically use the drop off recycling points, Alton Public Works Director Jesse Peña said. That could change should the recycling bins be successful.

“What we want to know is, how will the citizens react to having the opportunity to recycle,” Peña said. “We’ve worked with different entities in the past and have done impact analysis that show that creating something from recyclable materials versus making it completely from scratch take up 80 percent less effort without leaving a huge carbon footprint. Ideally, this would lead to people recycling more so that the city can offer recyclable bins for residents in their homes sometime within the next few years.”

According to Alton City Manager, having residents who recycle more would be beneficial to the city. The city uses the landfill at the City of Edinburg to dispose of its waste as a cost of $18.25 per each ton of waste the city brings to the landfill.

A typical garbage truck can carry up to 9 tons worth of waste according to the website Waste 360.

“With more people recycling, it creates less waste for the city to dispose of and less money that they use to dispose of it,” Peña said. “If the city doesn’t pay more money for that then that means they can have more money to spend on infrastructure and other things that will benefit the city.”

Alaniz said the city will have events to educate the community on the availability of the city’s recycling bins and the benefits of recycling.

“It just means less trash and a cleaner Earth,” Alaniz said. “We’re trying to keep this planet alive.”

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