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City of Odessa continues efforts on recycling changes

The city council is nearing an agreement with Butts Recycling in Midland while some community collection locations are actively being removed.

ODESSA, Texas — Recycling in Odessa is currently undergoing some changes. 

During a city council workshop on Tuesday afternoon, the council discussed terms regarding a recycling agreement with Butts Recycling in Midland. 

Those discussions were mainly about what an agreement may look like. 

As the city aims to consolidate it’s recycling to cut down on contamination, proceeding with caution is the mindset for the process to be done effectively. 

“In the end, it all winds up in the landfill," said Odessa Mayor Javier Joven. "So the thing is, do we have recycling? Or are we going to pay for the illusion of recycling? And that’s the analysis that you have to weigh in.” 

The city is actively working on recycling in the community, with commercial collection bins and community collection sites being removed. 

The Odessa Recycling Center, or Time Machine site, will be receiving upgrades if an agreement with Butts Recycling is made official by a city council vote on April 11. 

While efforts continue, there is some doubt in the effectiveness.

“We’ve had recycling," said Joven. "We’ve had years and years of recycling, and… we’re still talking about how trashy Odessa is. So, in the end, are we all complying with the recycling? Because those bags are flourishing in our environment throughout the community.” 

And that is a reality that Mayor Joven views with suspicion.

“So, it’s kind of ironic that we’re investing in recycling, and plastic bags, and things of that nature – plastic bottles and cardboard – but yet, we have a huge problem in plastic bags throughout the community, so it just doesn’t match," said Joven. 

As the city also works on designing a new recycling center, that investment brings into question priority.

“This is something that I want the community to do inventory on," said Joven. "What’s the priority here? Infrastructure, payroll for our city employees, police, fire, roads, things of that nature, or recyclables.” 

Other business discussed pertained to the plastic bags in the community that Mayor Joven mentioned. 

The council will work over the next couple of years to redefine the wording of plastic bags as solid waste within state legislature. 

Current state law does not allow for the banning of solid waste, which is ultimately preventing the banning of plastic bags. 

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