Recycling helps extend life of area landfills

During fiscal year 2016-17, the city of New Braunfels saved $180,000 on disposal fees because of its recycling program.

During fiscal year 2016-17, the city of New Braunfels saved $180,000 on disposal fees because of its recycling program.

Image description
What happens to recycled material?
During fiscal year 2016-17, the city of New Braunfels recycled 10,550 tons of material.

“That’s the total amount of material that would have otherwise gone to the landfill if we didn’t have these programs,” said Catelyn Scholwinski, the city’s recycling coordinator.

Residents in the city who have a utility account pay $4.26 per month for curbside recycling services, which saved the city $280,000 on disposal costs during the last fiscal year.

Saving space is another important benefit to recycling, Scholwinski said, noting that it takes 500 years for a plastic bottle to decompose in a landfill. At current use, the landfill at FM 1107 and Kohlenberg Road has 16 years of life left and is the only commercial landfill between Austin and San Antonio.

“From a waste standpoint, it’s important to help preserve the environment we have left so we can extend the life of existing landfills,” said Mike Mundell, the city’s solid waste manager.

During FY 2016-17, 24 percent of the city’s recycled weight had to be disposed of because the material was not recyclable or was contaminated.

“My advice would be that it needs to be clean, as much as possible,” Scholwinski said. “Food is a big problem. When people put their whole pizza box in there that still has the pizza in it, paper is very absorbent, which makes it not recyclable.”

Hangers, plastic bags, hoses and diapers are among the common items that do not belong in a recycle bin, Scholwinski said.

In addition to curbside recycling, the city operates a recycling center downtown at 488 S. Castell Ave.

“Our recycle center itself, although it is very small in space, we offer multiple commodities that many other centers don’t have,” Mundell said.

Some of the equipment that Mundell touts is a plastic foam densifier—used to convert plastic foam to plastic—that is one of three that are municipally owned in the state, a cardboard compactor, an oil filter crusher and a vertical bailer that is used to bale recycling matter together.

The city also offers designated days of the year to recycle certain goods, such as electronics, bulky goods and household hazardous waste. The dates can be found here.

Another recycling option for New Braunfels residents is the Comal County Recycling Center, which averages 120 tons of household recycling items each month. Although the county does not offer curbside recycling services, James Tart, manager and director of the center, said there are six recycling pickup sites disbursed throughout the county. Click here for a complete list of drop-off locations and times.

According to Tart, brush and tire collection are the only services that carry a fee. The price of brush recycling “is minimal compared to the nearest landfill prices,” Tart said, and tires are recycled for $2 each. All other services are funded by the county general fund budget.

“All of us might not ever see the positive effects of recycling now, but the future will tell our story about how we recycled or not,” Tart said.
By Rachel Nelson
Rachel Nelson is editor of the New Braunfels edition of Community Impact Newspaper. She covers local business, new development, city and county government, health care, education and transportation. Rachel relocated to Central Texas from Amarillo in 2009 and is a graduate of Texas State University's School of Journalism and Mass Communication.


MOST RECENT

Attendees will be able to learn about the redistricting process and ask questions about the factors that drive redistricting. (Community Impact Staff)
Rezoning in downtown New Braunfels paves the way for future development

The property located at 157 S. Guenther Ave. was rezoned to a central business district. Plans are underway for a new development on the adjacent property.

The zone will provide additional funding for public improvements within the area. (Community Impact Newspaper)
Third reinvestment zone approved in downtown New Braunfels

The zone will provide additional funding for public improvements within the area.

Kyle City Council voted 6-1 and approved the new citywide trail master plan that will utilize 2020 bond election funds for trails that will help connect Austin to San Antonio. (Courtesy Pexels)
CI Nation roundup: Perfect Game coming to Cedar Park; Kyle City Council approves trail master plan to connect Austin to San Antonio and more top stories

Take a look at the top five trending stories across all of Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas as of Sept. 24.

Superintendent Stephanie Elizalde said Sept. 23 though the district has been awarded emergency funding, it has only had access to a fraction of it. (Maggie Quinlan/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin ISD superintendent lays out barriers to receiving emergency funding

Superintendent Stephanie Elizalde said while it seems that the district has received "millions and millions," it has been able to use a fraction of granted emergency funds.

Wayback Burgers specializes in cooked-to-order burgers and hand-dipped milkshakes. (Courtesy Wayback Burgers)
Wayback Burgers coming to Leander; former Round Rock Steak N' Shake to become Whataburger and more top Central Texas news

Read the top business and community news from the past week from the Central Texas area.

Several parents of New Caney ISD students spoke at the district's Sept. 20 board meetings about recent allegations that a student brought a firearm to Porter High School's Sept. 18 homecoming dance. NCISD Superintendent Matt Calvert stressed that no gunshots were fired at the event, and that the district is investigating the allegations. (Wesley Gardner/Community Impact Newspaper)
CI Nation roundup: Round Rock ISD trustees considered for censuring; New Caney ISD addresses allegations of student with gun at campus event and more top stories

Take a look at the top five trending stories across all of Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas as of Sept. 23.

Lauren Wiedenfeld, center, opened Laurel Grace Yoga in August of 2020. (Courtesy Lauren Wiedenfeld)
Laurel Grace Yoga to relocate to larger downtown New Braunfels location

After relocating, the studio will expand class sizes and add new classes to its schedule to better serve students interested in learning and practicing yoga.

Several city of New Braunfels, Comal County and school facilities will be closed in observance of the Comal County Fair. (Warren Brown/Community Impact Newspaper)
New Braunfels closures to know for the Comal County Fair Parade holiday, Sept. 24

The New Braunfels Public Library will be closed throughout the weekend, as will the New Braunfels Municipal Court.

The Austin metropolitan statistical area surpasses COVID-19 pandemic job losses. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin regains all pandemic job loss, San Antonio nearly misses top 10 best performing metros in the country

The Austin and San Antonio metropolitan statistical areas continue their recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chief Patrick O'Connell became the fire chief in 2019. (Courtesy city of New Braunfels)
New Braunfels fire chief announces retirement effective Sept. 20

According to city officials, the chief officially retired Sept. 20. Assistant Chief Mike Wehman will serve as the interim chief until a full-time replacement can be found.