Recovering recyclable and green materials

Aug 15, 2019

There was a time a few decades ago when everything we “threw away” went into a trashcan that was emptied into a truck and dumped into a landfill. Now with technology for sorting and processing materials, most of our “trash” is actually a variety of recoverable materials that can be sorted, processed, and made into new products.

Georgetown is part of this shift. We are now diverting much of our solid waste stream out of the landfill with programs for recycling, yard trimmings, household hazardous waste, and unwanted medications. Sorting and reusing more materials, combined with our growing population, have led to plans for a new transfer station.

New transfer station

After a collection truck leaves your house, the first stop for solid waste, recyclables, and yard trimmings is the City’s transfer and collection station on W.L. Walden Drive. There the materials are transferred from collection trucks to larger semi-trucks for the trip to the Texas Disposal Systems landfill, recycling, and composting facility south of Austin. The current transfer and collection station in Georgetown opened in 1984 when the city’s population was about 12,000. Thirty-five years later, with a population of more than 70,000, the transfer station demand is exceeding its capacity.

As part of an overall Solid Waste Master Plan, the City is now designing a new transfer station. The facility will increase capacity and efficiency with drive-through truck bays for three material streams: recyclables, compost/green material, and landfill material. Construction on the new $9.5 million transfer station is set to begin next summer with completion in the spring of 2021.

While the new transfer station will help to more efficiently process the solid waste steam, we still need help from every resident to put items in the right cart.

What can I recycle?

Knowing what is and is not recyclable and putting items in the right cart will ensure that we reduce problems with contamination for recyclables or yard trimmings. That will help us to divert more material from the landfill.

Recyclable items are sorted and baled at the TDS materials recovery facility. These materials like mixed paper, cardboard, metal cans, and plastic containers are sold to buyers who use these materials to make new products.

Items that are recyclable include aluminum and steel cans, glass bottles,  corrugated cardboard, paperboard boxes, newspapers, magazines, telephone books, office paper, plastics #1 – #7, and plastic bags that have been put into a yellow Bag-the-Bag stuffer bag (available at Georgetown Municipal Complex, 300-1 Industrial Ave. or Sun City Social Center, 2 Texas Drive).

Items that are not recyclable include aerosol cans, used paper towels or tissues, loose plastic bags, Styrofoam, snack bags (like chip bags), and paper coffee cups (paper sleeves and plastic lids are OK).

Quick tips: Leave recyclable items loose in the cart and do not place in a bag. And be sure to separate boxes from plastic wrapping as these cannot be readily separated during sorting and processing. For a complete list of recyclables, go to recycle.georgetown.org/single-stream-recycling.

Yard trimmings

Monthly collection of “green waste” or yard trimmings for City of Georgetown residents is on your first recycle pickup of the month. Leaves, branches, weeds, and other yard trimmings can be put in paper kraft bags, in a container marked “yard trimmings,” or in bundles (35 pounds, four-foot max.). The organic material collected is turned into mulch available at the Collection Station or turned into a variety of compost products at the TDS facility.

Household hazardous waste vouchers

The City is initiating a new program this month for collection of household hazardous wastes such as antifreeze, fertilizer, motor oil, paint, pesticides, pool chemicals, or solvents. Georgetown city residents will be able to receive a voucher from the City of Georgetown to take household hazardous waste items to a facility in Round Rock. Find out more about the new household hazardous waste vouchers at recycle.georgtown.org.

Email Georgetown Customer Care at customercare@georgetown.org to request information or a voucher. Visit Round Rock’s household hazardous waste site to learn about collection events and acceptable materials: roundrocktexas.gov/departments/utilities-and-environmental-services/solid-waste-recycling/household-hazardous-waste-disposal.

To learn more about recycling, yard trimmings, or other solid waste programs, or to look up your pickup schedule, go to recycle.georgetown.org.

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