RGV Recycling Guide

No Time to Lose

By Ruma Chatterji

(This story was originally posted in September 2014.)

It does not matter wherever you are or whatever you are doing… You could be strolling along a beach on a hot day in southern Texas or be sitting in your car in a busy city sipping on your favorite beverage… Despite the type of activity that you are engaged in, you can always make a difference for the environment. How, you may ask? 

Sea turtle bites are seen in this piece of trash that washed up on shore. Teresa Shumaker photo.

Sea turtle bites are seen in this plastic cup that washed up on shore. Teresa Shumaker photo.

 Let’s face it — the environment has suffered from human activities. The fact is, as humans, we are consuming a lot of goods. Some of these materials we purchase take a very long time to disappear. For example, an aluminum can takes about 80 to100 years to decompose. We have very limited space on this planet and with such increases in consumptive materials, it makes it very difficult to store them. Often times, these extra materials end up as trash that can not only ruin many land ecosystems, but negatively affect different water bodies as well. A plastic water bottle drifting through the ocean, for example, may look like food to animals living in the water, such as sea turtles. Therefore, in order to help the environment, we can do our part and recycle the many materials we use on a daily basis.

The first step might be figuring out the materials you can actually recycle. Most people are probably aware that you can recycle paper, aluminum cans and plastic bags. But did you know you could also recycle tires, ink cartridges and batteries? There are hundreds of items you use daily that you can recycle once you are done with it. After you have figured out the things that you have that can be recycled, the next part is figuring out how to recycle such items!

For common items, such as plastic bags, many supermarkets will take them and re-use them for other customers. So, save your plastic bags if you have any, and return it to a supermarket. Better yet, buy an eco-friendly bag: something you can re-use again and again. It is a one-time purchase and will usually last a very long time. Plus many stores give you a discount or a per bag rebate of five or 10 cents per bag.

Other items can be dropped at a recycling drop off site. Check the location nearest to you, and drop off the items that can be recycled. That’s not all…. You can even donate things you do not have any use for! Everything from cell phones to clothes to eye glasses can be donated to other people who might find some use for them. There are many organizations that will take extra goods and donate to people who need them. Such as Goodwill or other local nonprofit thrift shops.

Not only does recycling help the environment, but it is economically beneficial as well. Recycling creates jobs for people and helps families save money.

So the next time you want to throw something out, think about it before you do. Remember, a lot of things one may throw out can harm the environment. We have wonderful ecosystems rich in diversity of species… and without realizing it we sometimes harm their existence and general welfare. Let’s work together to help our ecosystems remain healthy.

Some places you can recycle are listed below:

Name Address Phone Number
Southern Recycling 18601 Rl Ostos Rd, Brownsville, TX 78521 (956) 831-0220
Brownsville Scrap Paper Inc. 5850 Fm 511, Brownsville, TX 78526 (956) 838-1999
All Star Metals Brownsville, TX 78521 (956) 838-2190
Alandro Plastic Resources LLC 217 Texas Ave, Brownsville, TX 78521 (866) 417-3746
H & H Iron & Metal Inc 3822 Agnes St, Corpus Christi, TX 78405 (361) 888-5825
Valley Cardboard Recycle 1230 Cheers St, Brownsville, TX 78521 (956) 831-0022
Premium Donation Bins Brownsville, TX 78521 (956) 455-9445


Ruma Chatterji was originally born in Queens, New York City, but then moved to Kolkata, India when she was nine. In 2010, she returned to the United States to attend Clarion University of Pennsylvania where she obtained her BS degree in Environmental Biology with a writing concentration, as well as a double minor in Sustainability Management and Psychology.