DAMA recycling is huge success


    First Posted: 2/26/2012

    Due to overwhelming volumes, the Dallas Area Municipal Authority has increased it recycling collection to every week as of Feb. 20.

    Larry Spaciano, executive director of DAMA, attributes the increase in recycling collection to the authority's new single stream recycling program. Customers no longer have to separate materials like plastic, glass and cardboard, making recycling easier than ever.

    "We've collected about 15 more tons this January compared to last January," said Spaciano.

    Spaciano said the increased recycling collection will also encourage customers to recycle more often because of the quick turnaround.

    "…It was more difficult for them to take out that much recycling to the curb at one time," he said. "We looked at it overall and said it's probably going to be more cost-effective for us and a lot easier for the residents if we do it on a weekly basis."

    Spaciano said recycling isn't just good for the environment – it's also going to save DAMA customers money in the long run.

    "We have an agreement; we take it down to Northeast Recycling Services and then, depending on the market, they'll pay us a certain amount for the recycling," he said. "The bottom line is we never have to pay to get rid of it, even if the bottom of the recycling market drops out. It doesn't cost us anything to get rid of it, so it's a win-win for us."

    Before DAMA took on its own solid waste and recycling collection, whatever recyclable materials collected were the property of the hauler, Spaciano said. Therefore, when companies took the materials to the recycling center, whatever money they received for the materials was theirs to keep.

    Now DAMA is reaping the benefits of its own program. The authority received its first check in January for about $3,600 – all of which will go back into the program and eventually save customers money.

    Spaciano said, hopefully, the amounts of those checks will increase due to the more frequent recycling collection.

    Bill Feher, DAMA's solid waste supervisor, hopes to increase the recycling opportunities for residents, including providing outlets for recycling electronics and tires. He also said the return on the program will allow DAMA to stabilize its rates.

    Spaciano said, despite the increased collection, there won't be additional costs for manpower or vehicles because the crews are out collecting garbage every day anyway.

    "It will even itself out," he said.

    Spaciano said convenience and the way the program is designed has encouraged customers to increase their recycling habits which, in turn, benefits the entire Back Mountain. He hopes the program will continue with an educational aspect to promote recycling throughout the community.


    With DAMA's new program, customers can mix recyclable materials in the same bin. Here's a list of what you can and cannot recycle.

    These are OK to recycle: 1-7 plastics, aluminum cans, aluminum foil, cardboard, cereal boxes, color paper, detergent bottles, empty aerosol cans, envelopes (window OK), egg cartons, file folders, glass jars and bottles, hard and soft cover books, juice and milk cartons, junk mail, newspapers and inserts, magazines and brochures, multi 3-ply paper, white paper, paperboard boxes, phonebooks and catalogs, plastic milk jugs, plastic soda bottles, pots and pans, school papers, small metals, tin cans and water bottles.

    These are NOT OK to recycle: drinking glasses; frozen food, ice cream or frozen juice containers; hazardous or bio-hazardous waste; light bulbs, plates or vases; mirrors, ceramics or Pyrex; napkins; needles; paper to-go containers; paper towels; plastic 6-pack holders; plastic microwave trays; plastics other than those listed; scrap metal; shredded paper; stickers or sheets of address labels; Styrofoam; syringes; tissues; Tyvek envelopes; waxed paper; waxed cardboard; and window glass.

    For more information about recycling, contact DAMA at 696-1134.

    Now DAMA is reaping the benefits of its own program. The authority received its first check in January for about $3,600 – all of which will go back into the program and eventually save customers money.

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