San Angelo Residents Deem Recycling Too Inconvenient
There is a fraction of people that choose to recycle in San Angelo; local residents say it just isn’t convenient enough.
“San Angelo is seriously behind in the recycling movement,” Nicole Clemens said.
Although Clemens doesn’t find it convenient, she puts an effort into recycling.
She said, “The human impact on our natural earth is causing heavy tolls on our future and recycling is a great way to give back and cut back unnecessary landfills and dumps.”
Clemens collects plastics, paper, and cardboard for recycling.
“It’s not easy until you have a great routine—and the will to do it,” she said.
San Angelo currently has only one recycling center for residents. The Citizen’s Recycling Center is operated by the non-profit organization San Angelo Friends of the Environment (S.A.F.E.). The center is open five days a week and accepts the majority of recyclable materials. However the center is only a drop-off location, it does not offer a pick up service.
Andrew Healey, a resident that does not currently recycle, said, “It’s just a habit of not doing it. People are accustomed to not doing it, and not recycling doesn’t have any short-term effects so why change a system that seems to work.”
However upon the system changing Healey said, “If the city implemented a recycle pick up similar to the way trash is picked up there’s a higher probability I would [recycle].”
Through his business Go Green and Recycle, Sam Tambunga offers a curbside pickup for recycling. The Go Green and Recycle collects the recyclables of residents and transports them to the S.A.F.E. recycling center.
Tambunga said, “A lot of times people don’t recycle because they don't have the time—or the convenience for it.”
The business charges $20 to $30 a month depending on the plan chosen to pick up residents’ recycling materials.
He said that he recognizes the cost as being fairly expensive, but said, “The more people recycle the more the cost will go down.”
The business currently serves about 375 households within San Angelo.
He said, "It's not as popular here in San Angelo because we are so isolated.”
Tambunga said that recycling in West Texas in comparison to other areas in the country is less of a concern.
He said, “There is so much land. I don’t think people recognize the need to prevent landfills from expanding in our area.”
Tambunga said, "When we have people come in from other communities they are really surprised to know that the city doesn’t offer curbside pick up for recycling”
For Blanca Hernandez the different approach cities have is apparent.
She said, “When I visit Austin I notice they have an environment-friendly culture and awareness. I’ve thought if I lived there I would probably be inspired to be that way too and start recycling.”
Clemens said she thinks recycling would increase in San Angelo if “ a public recycling system was implemented to be included in a trash or sewer fee in our water bills.”
Along with this she said San Angelo should consider, “...mandating that everyone recycles, like most cities do. It is a fine if you don’t recycle and they catch you throwing it away in bigger cities.”
Tambunga said, “It takes the same effort to put it in the trash as to put it in the recycling bin.”
He agrees that San Angelo is “behind the times” when it comes to recycling.
“There needs to be more education on recycling. People need to understand it and know why they should recycle,” he said.
Tambunga said recycling is important because, "It’s good for our economy, it creates jobs, reduces waste, is good for the environment, saves energy, preserves landfill space, reduces water pollution, protects wildlife, and creates demand."
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