HISTORY OF RECYCLING IN JEFF DAVIS COUNTY
Twenty years ago Elaine Harmon, curator, and Jerry Yarbrough, superintendent of FDNHS, started an all volunteer recycling program. They collected recyclables and delivered them to Alpine to the center created by Hal Flanders. After Hal’s death a new city manager dismantled the recycling infrastructure. Ten years ago Jeff Davis County tried to set up recycling with Duncan Disposal, now Republic. Volunteers staffed every Saturday morning to help people recycle. After a year of work by 100 volunteers, we learned that Duncan was not recycling.
Creation of the present recycling system was made possible in 2011 with a $10,000 grant from the National Park Service Foundation with the help of John Morlock the new Superintendent. Many in‐kind contributions were given to grade the site for the compactor, compact the base, add a reinforced concrete pad, and bring in 3‐phase electricity.
In all a $20,000 investment was made to have single stream recycling with Texas Disposal Systems (TDS) whose goal is to prevent anything recyclable from being dumped in a land fill it operates. In their new contract with the County, TDS because of their increased costs, increased the hauling fees for our compacted recyclables. Jeff Davis County was paying $10,000 per year to provide free recycling for its citizens. Hauling fees went up $5,000 which was too much for the County Budget. The total budget for the Receiving Station is $97,000. Dumping fees only bring in $15,000. Solid waste disposal costs taxpayers $82,000 per year.
A group of dedicated volunteers put on a fish fry fundraiser November 2015 and raised the $5,000 needed. Over 100 people attended the fish fry and 40 people donated from $100 to $1,000 in sponsorships. Volunteer efforts and generous donations have been a hallmark of recycling in Jeff Davis County and are one reason for its success.