Helping out the environment

Approaching its first year anniversary, the efforts to reduce, reuse and recycle is slowly catching on in the Heart of Texas. It is part of the weekly routine for the solid waste department, but for many citizens of Brady, the fact that there is a recycling program in Brady might come to a surprise to many. Twice each week, Jim Kidd, supervisor of the solid waste department for the City of Brady, drives by the recycling trailer located behind the Brady Fire Department to check on the levels of the various bins in one of two recycling trailers the city uses. When the bins fill up, he swaps the empty reserve trailer with the full one and takes the recyclable materials to a makeshift facility that is being housed, at least for the interim, under the grandstands at the G. Rollie White Complex. ‘We have seen a gradual increase in the amount of recycled material that shows up in the trailer each week,’ said Kidd. ‘What we hope to do is increase the awareness of the program and get more and more people using the trailer for their recyclable material.’ The city’s recycling effort began almost a year ago and has slowly gained momentum. Rumors that no recycling effort is available have circulated off and on over the past several years, but with a year under his belt, Kidd says that the recycling program is poised to grow rapidly as soon as folks in the area become aware that the effort is being made to help our environment. Early on in the local effort when the trailers were filled, Kidd would take the trailer to Mason and unload the materials in their bins. Since then, the City of Brady has procured two bailers that are being used to crush materials into separate bales that will be shipped off for cash. “We are getting close to shipping off our first full load,” said Kidd. “A full load is 42 pallets and we are just a few shy of that right now.” Sunbright Paper Recycling in Waco is the company that will ultimately send a truck to Brady to remove the pallets of recyclable material. The combined load will consist of four-foot square boxes (called gaylords) filled to the brim with newspaper and magazines and pallets of baled materials. The pallets are separated into three categories: milk jugs, clear drinking bottle plastic and other plastics. “It takes between 10 and 15 of these large boxes filled with milk jugs just to make one bale,” said Kidd. “The baler we have crushes a tremendous amount of volume into a very small and compact bale.” Recycling is a business and an effort that has numerous benefits with the chance to recoup some financial benefit being a side note. “The costs associated with recycling are such that it is difficult to see a positive cash flow,” said Kidd. “The biggest impact is on our environment and more specifically on our landfill. “With a 20-ton per day limit, our community is getting close to reaching that point as it operates on a normal basis. This load that we will be sending off is going to just about equal the tonnage of one day which helps us gain ground on the annual tonnage that goes into the landfill.” In talking about the growth of the recycling in Brady, Kidd compares the last year’s effort with Mason’s established program. He stated that Mason sends off one and sometimes two loads each year, but expects Brady to collect as much as three loads once public awareness increases. In planning for the future, Kidd sees several areas of opportunity that will increase the effectiveness of the recycling program as he plans to expand both the facilities that house the effort as well as the possibility of having a manned drop off point with regular hours of operation. He has both short term and long term goals which include building a structure to house the recycling program and ultimately manning the facility during regular business hours. He also has hopes and plans to create new employee positions with the possiblity of some working a citywide pickup route. As it stands now, the recycling trailer has separate bins for cardboard, aluminum cans, newspaper, magazines, clear plastic and other types of plastic. Used motor oil was at one time allowed to be disposed of at the city warehouse without any supervision. In an effort to maintain some control over what and how oil is disposed, the used oil facility at the warehouse can still be used at no charge, but it will only be accepted by warehouse personnel during regular weekly business hours. “We were having a tough time monitoring what was being dumped and things like batteries and other things that we can’t dispose of were just showing up stacked up next to the collection site,” said Darlene Reynolds, warehouse manager. “TCEQ (Texas Commission on Environmental Quality) is very strict about how we dispose of materials like oil and because we were not able to monitor the drop off all of the time, we now keep it under lock and key.” To drop off used oil free of charge, simply check with one of the warehouse personnel on duty when you arrive. The hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Another aspect of the recycling program that has seen positive results is the recycling of clean metal. Clean metal is metal that has not had Freon, motor oil, gasoline or antifreeze in it. Items like water heaters, old swing sets, wire fences and stoves are perfect items that can be dropped off free of charge at the city’s landfill. A metal baler is positioned at the landfill that crushes the recyclable material into bales that are in turn taken off to a separate facility in Brownwood. The most recent load that was shipped off brought the total in metal to 70 tons. The last load brought in $800 less a $200 transport fee. “The biggest factor here is the amount of space we are saving in our landfill,” said Kidd. “That is the entire premise of the recycling program. With Wal- Mart’s larger store opening soon and the growth that is happening in and around Brady, we need to be working diligently to reduce the impact we are having on our landfill.” Getting the word out on recycling is just a part of the plan that will help reach that goal. For more information about what services are available, contact Kidd at 597-1667.

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