Bryan to close its drive-in recycling center

By Paul Ploumis

RecyclingMonster - Bryan residents are encouraged to seek recycling services from private companies as the city moves toward closing its drive-in recycling center off Briarcrest Drive next month.

The recycling center in the parking lot of Walmart will close its doors at the end of the day Feb. 16. City of Bryan Environmental Services Manager Eric Zaragoza said the city will be reviewing the effectiveness of recycling as a privately contracted service.

“Obviously, I think with any change there is some pushback because it will be a little different,” he said. “The convenience factor is a part of that, and the cost, too, since it is no cost to use the recycling facility [now]. That’s one of the biggest things we’ve heard, is that the recycling site is a convenient place to go, and you’re not seeing a number on your utility bill.”

Zaragoza pointed out that Bryan residents do pay for the existing center, as the operational costs are factored into utility bills’ solid waste rate. He said if the city were to establish municipal curbside recycling, the upgrade would cost anywhere from $600,000 to $800,000 to run per year in addition to the existing $400,000 yearly cost to run the current center, resulting in a higher bill.

Zaragoza said when he started working for the city more than 16 years ago, Bryan processed from 1,100 to 1,200 tons of recycling annually. That number is down to 825 tons, with about five percent of the city’s population using private curbside recycling services.

City staff met at workshop sessions last year to discuss the future of the recycling center and decided to shift the services to private companies, he said.

Three recycling center employees are beneficiaries of the local nonprofit Junction 505, which serves to connect disabled adults to job opportunities. According to Iris Woolley, executive director of Junction 505, Bryan’s history of having a recycling center started with the nonprofit years ago.

“No employee will be losing their job when this happens, including [members of] Junction 505,” Zaragoza said.

Zaragoza said the city is expanding its oil recycling center on Waco Street and will establish a drop-off facility for used tires. This change could provide more jobs for the Junction 505 employees.

Woolley said Junction 505 beneficiaries have enjoyed working with Bryan employees. Though there may be some growing pains with a job transition, Woolley said she feels encouraged.

“I’m confident they will be given a good opportunity in the future,” she said.

The private curbside companies that the city of Bryan lists online for residents to consider are BVR Waste and Recycling, which can be reached by calling 260-0006, and Texas Commercial Waste, at 775-7171.

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