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City of Odessa working on bringing recycling back to the community

Odessa Mayor Javier Joven said the plan was never to cancel recycling permanently. The city is pausing operations as it looks for a new and better recycling service.

ODESSA, Texas — It was in early May when the City of Odessa stopped offering recycling services. The topic was discussed at Tuesday night's city council meeting, and clarity has been brought to the current situation. 

The city is actively working on bringing recycling back for the community. Odessa Mayor Javier Joven said that the plan was never to cancel it permanently, but rather pause operations for now to find a better way to offer the service. 

“In this case, I felt that there was a better way of doing it, and if we can wind up doing it in-house and have more controls over it, that’s exactly what we need to do, and stop having an illusion of recycling, and have a recycling that makes sense and also accomplish what the user intends is to keep these products out of the landfill," said Mayor Joven. 

As Odessa works to offer an improved recycling system compared to the old method, a more cost-effective and responsible approach is wanted. 

Mayor Joven said over 80% of past recyclables were ending up in the landfill due to recycling contamination, and they want to correct that moving forward. 

“We were evaluating, reevaluating how we can wind up doing it," said Mayor Joven. "‘Can we do it in-house? Can we seek out those partnerships?’, and that’s what we’ve been working on for a year-and-a-half. What we needed to do was wind up canceling and basically not renewing the contract, and that’s what we did. Now we’re moving forward with the new initiative that will have more control.” 

The city is looking to simplify things. 

“For right now we’re going to wind up putting containers so you can bring in your plastics and your cardboard, and then we’re asking you to separate those, and then we’ll take care of it from there…and then we’ll wind up exploring an expansion of that depending on the partnerships that we’re able to find," said Mayor Joven. "There’s one that we’re exploring, but we still have to be able to sit down and communicate.” 

The goal is to create more efficiency for the entire operation. 

“For us, not to have to send everything over to Midland or further destinations, to be able to shorten our routes, to be able not to tie up with personnel, so we can do both the recycling responsible and also to continue to address the pickup of the trash throughout our community, because we can’t compromise one program at the expense of another," said Mayor Joven. 

Mayor Joven mentioned that the recycling containers can be up very soon as they work towards a long-term solution for a recycling service. He asked for the community to be patient during this time and that they will continue to provide updates with their progress. 

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