North Texas Daily

North Lakes recycling center reopens temporarily

North Lakes recycling center reopens temporarily

North Lakes recycling center reopens temporarily
November 05
12:30 2022

The North Lakes recycling center temporarily reopened on Sept. 28 as part of a new solid waste management strategy. 

The facility is approximately 30 years old and has been in operation ever since the city of Denton started its recycling program. The recycling site was closed for about six weeks due to the construction of the new North Lakes tennis center at the park. With the completion of the parking lot construction, the recycling site is back open to the public but only for a limited time.

The plan is to permanently close the North Lakes site halfway through 2023 and replace it with a collections site. This “comprehensive conversion ordinance” will require every home, multifamily apartment and business institution to have some sort of recycling program at the point of origin, Denton’s Director of solid waste Brian Boerner said. It will ensure people have a place to manage their recycling at the point it is generated instead of saving it up and taking it somewhere else.

“It goes back to education,” Boerner said. “If you’re willing to do a little bit of work, you can make tremendous progress in the reduction of your solid waste footprint.”

There has been a longstanding problem with illegal dumping at unstaffed recycling deposit sites such as the one at North Lakes, Boerner said. There is a demand in the areas surrounding the city of Denton for a recycling deposit, and it is estimated that close to 60 percent of the people who use North Lakes right now are not residents of Denton. 

“They’re coming from cities outside of the city of Denton, and I know for a fact as far away as Gainesville,” Boerner said.

Recycling dumpsters sit at the North Lakes Recycling Center on Oct. 26, 2022. Photo by Bren McDonald

Another issue that will be addressed by this new plan is the type of materials accepted. Residents of Denton can find out what materials are accepted at their local drop-off site by using the Waste Wizard online helper on the city of Denton’s website. 

“Before we put restrictor lids and smaller holes in the boxes, we would have to throw away whole loads of material that were collected only because people were using them as garbage cans,” Boerner said. “Now that we’ve put in some restrictor lids and had better control over it, our contamination is down to about 12 percent.”

The city of Denton developed a new waste management program over the past two years. Studies have been done about the city’s waste stream and methods that can be implemented to reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfills. 

“Landfills are finite resources, so again, the hole is only so big, and you can only pack so much into it, so as much material as we can divert that’s what we want to try to do,” Boerner said. 

The Comprehensive Solid Waste Management Strategy was drafted for the city of Denton in May and contains an evaluation of the best solid waste practices, demographics and financial impacts that affect solid waste systems. It analyzes data gathered locally, nationally and globally on solid waste disposal in order to form a strategy that can help the city divert the flow of solid waste. 

A large contributor to the solid waste stream is the universities that are located within the city. The University of North Texas prides itself on being a clean university, with the recognizable large recycling bins dotted around campus and signs urging students to be conscious of where their trash is going. Many students take this duty upon themselves as well.

“I think [recycling] is very important as our planet is constantly being polluted by big corporations and regular everyday people,” studio art major Mawali Trice Jr. said. “The impact recycling has on our local environment is significant.”

There are many ways people can help the environment locally, from recycling to conserving water — it all makes a difference.

“I always make a conscious effort to recycle and pick up trash,” media arts freshman Brendan Rivers said. “It’s just about taking care of the little things.”

Featured Image: A sign for the North Lakes Recycling Center is displayed on Oct. 26, 2022. Photo by Bren McDonald

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Jadyn Turner

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