By Devin Corbitt, The Belton Journal
The recycling program has been in effect in Belton for more than a year now, but many people still are not aware of another aspect of this program: Household Hazardous Waste recycling.
Through this program, residents can dispose of all those nasty old things sitting around their house that cannot be taken to the landfill, such as chemicals, computer monitors and needles.
“You put them (hazardous materials) aside – a the stuff in your garage: old paints, old motor oil, old cleaners, old batteries, fluorescent light bulbs, old electronics – and you call Waste Management,” Mike Huber, Public Works Director for the City of Belton, said. “They’ll send you the box, and they’ll come pick up the box when you fill it up. There’s not much you could generate on a household level that Waste Management wouldn’t take.”
But these materials do not just get dumped into a specialized landfill.
“It’s a cool program because not only do you get to get rid of that stuff, but Waste Management does a really good job of trying to put it to beneficial use,” Huber said. “They work with vendors to recycle. There’s a market for used motor oil, for example. It can be used as a fuel. They can (also) sell scrap electronics in bulk for recycling companies to extract precious metals. Everyone needs to recycle lots of metal.”
And the best part: the fee for this is already included in residents’ monthly garbage bills.
“It’s just awesome,” Huber said. “The less we can send to the landfill, the longer the landfill lasts.”
For more information, including accepted materials, visit www.beltontexas.gov/DocumentCenter/View/448. To schedule a pick up, call Waste Management’s call center, 1-800-449-7587, or visit www.wmatyourdoor.com/public-access.aspx.
As for the recycling program in Belton, the amount of successfully recycled materials just keeps growing. It focuses on helping the environment while remaining economically friendly, as well.
“The program was structured to keep the costs as low as possible but bring in carts and recycling to the city,” Huber said. “We try to build flexibility as much as possible and still keep the cost low. (For example,) customers can get an extra cart for a small fee every month.”
Of course, there’s still that little problem of recycling glass, which is currently not accepted in the recycling bins. Will it ever be accepted in Belton?
“The answer is: I don’t know,” Huber said. “It’s a difficult material to recycle. You can’t do a single bin because glass breaks and contaminates all the other materials, so you have to do a separate bin for the glass, but there’s no market for the glass. It’s cheaper to make glass from virgin materials than to recycle them.”
However, the recycling program in Belton has still taken off, saving our environment one bin at a time.
“I think it’s been successful,” Huber said. “I’m proud and impressed with Belton that everyone embraced recycling.”