Recycling efforts extend life of Longview landfill

Monday, May 21, 2012 - 1:17pm

Our news partner, The Longview News Journal, reports Longview spreads out below the Pinehill Landfill like a toy city amid the trees.

“There’s the view of downtown Longview,” landfill Manager Bill Bybel told a tour group recently after achieving the tabletop plateau on the artificial mountain between Longview and Kilgore. “There’s LeTourneau (Technologies), the stacks at Eastman (Chemical Co., Texas Operations).”

Mostly hidden from view are the thousands of homes and dozens of apartment complexes that generate their share of the 1,000 tons of trash weighing in at the landfill daily. The waste stream arrives at its mountain home in 250 to 300 trucks from cities across the region.

The slower Pinehill fills, the better off everyone is.

There are landfills in 117 of Texas’ 254 counties, a number that’s been dwindling while the Lone Star State’s population has skyrocketed.

No one knows that better than Bybel, who hopes Pinehill can operate another 100 years. At the top of the heap, he surveyed the latest piles of household garbage being ground by a 115,000-pound compactor that spends its days rolling back and forth over the pile.

Much of the trash was paper and cardboard.

“Here at this landfill, the number one thing coming in is paper,” Bybel said. “There’s no use in that being there. ... And, plastic and paper, they are hard to break down. It just won’t break down.”

Operated by Allied Waste, Pinehill receives trash from Longview, Kilgore, Marshall, Gladewater, White Oak, Jefferson and Overton. Trash from unincorporated areas in Gregg and six other counties also reaches its final destination at Pinehill.

A recycling effort championed by Allied got a boost almost a year ago when Rivers Recycling opened just around the corner on FM 1252.

Some 600 cubic yards of recyclable trash from Longview diverts to Rivers each week, Bybel said.

“That only makes this thing live longer for the generations to come,” he said.

The only recycling facility between Dallas and Shreveport, Rivers was built to handle 2,000 tons of recyclables a month. The 37,500-square-foot facility accepts paper, aluminum, tin, cardboard and two types of plastic — soda and detergent bottles.

Rivers General Manager and co-owner Todd Lucas estimates the facility is approaching half its capacity.

“We’re not quite there, but we’re getting closer every month,” he said Friday. “Every ton of material that’s diverted here, as opposed to the landfill, is money. That’s just found money. ... As people pay attention and businesses have their opportunity to choose to recycle, it can save them money.”

Municipalities were the early birds to the recycle bin. Allied spokesman Gene Keenon said 11 of its customer cities, including Longview, White Oak and Gladewater, divert more than 300 tons of recyclables each month.

Next month, Marshall’s city commission will consider going full throttle with a curbside recycling program similar to one OK’d this past week in Longview.

To read more on this article head over to The Longview News Journal /recycling-efforts-extend-life-of-longview-landfill/article_d9ec6a66-bbfd-50c9-b238-ed86bb5570fe.html


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