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Utopia begins new recycling effort


Seven hundred years - that’s the amount of time it takes a plastic water bottle to begin to breakdown. With eight out of 10 bottles ending up in landfills that is 25,000,000 every hour. Fairing a little better, aluminum cans only take 500 years to begin decomposing.

With this timetable in mind, Utopia has begun an area wide recycling program that includes parts of Bandera, Uvalde, Medina and Real counties. Utopia Recycles held their grand opening Saturday, Jan. 17, at the Utopia Waste Disposal Drop-off site. Fueled by food, fun and prizes, locals cut the ribbon to their new facility and the school class of 2014 introduced the public to the benefits of recycling.

The new barn began filling up with #1 plastics, water and soda bottles; #2 plastics, detergent, milk and juice bottles; aluminum cans; corrugated cardboard; feed sacks without liner; paper, such as newspapers, magazines, office paper, junk mail and small phone books; steel “tin” cans and pasteboard boxes, cereal, cracker and tubes from paper towels and toilet paper.

Claudia Rogers, chairman of the Keep Utopia Beautiful campaign, the parent organization of Utopia Recycles, offered, “I am thrilled with the amount of recyclables that our residents are already bringing. It is so important to keep valuable materials out of our landfills and reduce the amount of hazardous materials contaminating our soil, water and air.”

As landfills continue to fill up and waste disposal becomes limited, cities and counties around the area have begun transporting a portion of their trash to San Antonio. Recycling not only reduces waste, but also may, in the future, keep fees and taxes down. If residents cannot reduce, reuse or recycle what they put in their trashcans, the cost of transporting waste to other facilities around the state will increase.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 75 percent of what is throw away every day could be recycled. Additionally, the amount of energy saved from recycling aluminum, steel cans, plastic bottles, newspapers and cardboard is equivalent to the electricity used by 17.8 million Americans in one year. Recycling waste uses less electricity, oil, trees, and water than producing something from scratch.

Utopia Recycles will accept recyclable materials from 9 am to 2 pm Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at the Utopia Waste Disposal Site on County Road 357 just off FM 1050.