Nacogdoches, Texas (KETK) – A surprise setback in efforts to help the environment.
The City of Nacogdoches is temporarily suspending the recycling of paper and plastic.
This is part of a much larger issue affecting cities all over East Texas.
For the time, Nacogdoches will no longer be recycling paper and plastic this is due to China no longer taking recyclables from the U.S.
“Basically there’s no money in those recyclables,” said Steve Bartlett, City Engineer for the City of Nacogdoches.
The city sends it’s recycled materials to the recycling center in Lufkin, this costs the city around $60,000 per year.
Bartlett says China’s move has stopped many from buying recycled products.
Thus, recycling centers are not taking certain materials and they are piling up and items such as paper and plastic are headed to the city landfill.
“The city wants to look for a way to continue the recycling program so right now this is kind of a placeholder until we can see things improve,” Bartlett said.
It’s not just in Nacogdoches, cities all around East Texas are running into the same situation.
The City of Tyler says they are preparing for this eventuality.
“Recycle facilities…are having to secure new markets for the recycle products…since China stopped taking this huge quantity of material other markets are being flooded with these materials…some recycle material may end up in the landfill if vendors get backlogged.”
Regardless, people around Nacogdoches say recycling is too important to quit.
“I think recycling should be one of the top priorities so any money that’s going towards it is worth it,” said Audrey Moore, a Nacogdoches.
An idea that hasn’t escaped the city.
“Recently we have added a cardboard baler which is going to allow us to take our recycled cardboard and bale it and be able to sell it, hopefully, for a return on that investment for a profit,” said Bartlett.
Nacogdoches also still recycles glass, but it is handled by a private organization.
A route locals hope the city can take with paper and plastic.
“It’s a renewable resource we can use just for our own production of goods in the United States,” said Ryan Keeton, a local resident.
But until a solution is found, paper and plastic will still be brought to the city landfill.