Recycling effort in Port Neches ends; site used as a dump

Published 5:58 pm Tuesday, March 5, 2019

According to the old cliché, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.

The same can be said for recycling, or recycling the correct way.

The city of Port Neches has opted to discontinue its recycling program due to an increase in cost but mainly because the program just isn’t working.

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“In reality, there has been no recycling in the sense that the amount of content placed in those containers have resulted in the inability of the contractor to actually recycle the materials,” Port Neches City Manager Andre Wimer said. “The location of the recycling containers has, for some period of time, simply been a dumping ground.”

The drop-off recycling site is located at the city’s public works facility at 2001 Merriman in Port Neches. Wimer shared photos of the containers with trash dumped inside and on the ground, the disposal of lawnmowers, plywood, and at one time overflowing with trash bags and cardboard boxes, household garbage, nails, and discarded crawfish shells.

“In spite of the signage that has been at the site indicating what materials are recyclable there has been little attention paid resulting in the excessively high levels of contaminated materials,” he said.

Market changes

Besides the noncompliance of rules of some people there is also the issue that the current market conditions dictate that the city’s contractor, Waste Management, substantially increase their charges associated with the service, he said.

The current cost for the city is about $700 per month and the proposed price is about $1,700 per month with additional fees to be added, depending on the level of contamination. Based on the current situation at the recycling site, Wimer believes there would be fees added to their amount weekly.

The global market is changing, though. In 2017, China passed the National Sword policy banning plastic waste from being imported for the protection of the environment and people’s health beginning in January 2018, according to a National Public Radio story.

Closer to home

The city of Nederland was forced to make changes to its recycling program due to people dumping trash along with recyclables at the site. Once housed near 27th Street and Nederland Avenue the recycling dumpsters are now located at the city service center, 515 Hardy Ave., and is available to the public from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Nederland uses the same company, Waste Management, for its recycling.

The recycling containers will remain at the Port Neches site through the end of March.