It’s time to “Recycle right!” McAllen

by Public Information Office | Oct 20, 2016

by Office of Communications | Oct 13, 2016

Next week, the City of McAllen Public Works Department Solid Waste Division will launch “Recycle right!” a program designed to dramatically improve blue bin compliance in the city’s curbside recycling program by residents.  The program includes an education outreach effort by Solid Waste employees, notices for non-compliance and finally, loss of blue bin and increased Solid Waste service fees.

“Recycling is the right thing to do, not just for our community and not just for our children, but also, for the future of our environment,” said City of McAllen Mayor Jim Darling.  “Recycling is such an easy thing to do, an easy thing for all of us to do to our part to help preserve our dwindling natural resources.” 

“Recycle right!” is the new message for the residential recycling collection service provided to the 35,000 households and should remind McAllen residents what is and what is not allowed in the blue bins.  Acceptable recyclable materials include: paper; plastic bottles and jugs; aluminum cans; tin cans; cardboard; glass bottles and jars.  All recyclable items should be clean and free of food waste.  Everything else goes in the trash can, including; food; grass clippings and leaves; medical waste; diapers; Styrofoam; garden hoses; and any recyclable items contaminated with food waste.

City leaders hope that residents will better understand how to maximize the use of their recycling bin by ending the chronic use of blue bins for garbage. The goal of “Recycle right!” is to increase the amount of recycling tonnage collected, currently at 2,000 tons annually and reduce the amount of contaminated recycling received, which today is at approximately 75%.  In fact, the City’s recycling rate is an amount only reached when Solid Waste employees separate the trash from the recyclables by hand.  Currently, the garbage collection rate is 6,000 tons annually. 

In the coming weeks, McAllen residents can expect to receive an educational packet with information on what can and cannot be recycled in the blue bin, as well as information on blue bin inspections in their neighborhood.  Starting November 1, recycling bin inspections will be conducted in all McAllen neighborhoods, to check for compliance. All resident blue bin inspections will be completed within a six-month period. 

Upon inspections, residents found to have a contaminated blue will receive a yellow warning tag for their first violation. A yellow warning tag notice will be left at each residential account, informing the resident that their bin was found to be in violation of having non-recyclable material.   A second violation of noncompliance will result in receiving a red notification tag, indicating their blue recycling bin has been removed and that a second trash bin – a black bin – will be automatically provided.   Additionally, a $10.50 monthly fee for the second black bin will be charged on their utility bill.  If the bin is determined not to be needed by the homeowner, it may be removed after one month.  They can reapply for the blue bin after a 6-month waiting period.

City leaders hope to impress upon the community the impact of recycling to the environment.  According to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, one recycled aluminum can will save enough energy to run a computer for three hours or a TV for two hours.  One ton of recycled paper will save 17 trees.

The City of McAllen residential recycling program has been in place for 22 years, with curbside recycling since 1994.  It is the only city in the Rio Grande Valley with a dedicated curbside recycling program and residents pay one of the lowest garbage and recycling rates in the state.

For more information on “Recycle right!” contact (956) 681-3111 or visit the website at