Don’t Trash It: Recycling in the RGV


At the risk of being labeled a “crunchy” mom, I’ve been dying to write a post on recycling down here in the RGV.

Growing up in Central Texas, those little blue bins were on every curb. Over the years, the bins grew into trashcan-sized containers on wheels. It seemed that tossing things into the recycling was now on par with tossing things into the trash. (Yes, I use “recycling” as both a noun and verb.)

As an adult, I moved to NYC, where every apartment building I lived in also collected both trash and recycling. Come Monday, you would see supers outside building, sorting any cans and cardboard that the tenants hadn’t. You would even see random people come along with shopping carts and dig through trash bags for cans and bottles they could redeem for cash— there are legendary tales of people who sent their kids to college that way!

recyclingSo, when I moved to Mission, I had to change some long-standing conservation habits. Gone were the days of city-collected recycling. Now, I was buying my own blue bins at Walmart and making my own drop every two weeks at one of the municipal recycling centers.

It’s just something I HAVE to do. My husband and I are obsessed with seltzer water in cans. I just cannot imagine throwing anywhere from 3-5 cans a day into the trash. Yes, it’s wasteful to buy so many canned drinks— but then trashing those cans after one use? That’s SUPER wasteful.


There’s a grey area between tree-hugger and trash-hole, and I prefer to live somewhere in that space. Although, truly, I’m hoping to make my lifestyle a little more green.

[RELATED: Get crafty with those old glass jars.]

Where do you stand on recycling? Does your city pick up recycling curbside, or do you do your own collection and drops?

In an effort to make being green a little easier, we’ve compiled a list of recycling centers across the RGV.

Recycling Centers in the RGV


Drop-off Location • 423. N Tower Rd.

Items accepted: newspapers, magazines, phonebooks, aluminum cans, cardboard, and used motor oil.


Alton Recycling Center •  located on the south side of Alton City Hall on W. Dawes Ave.

Items accepted: paper, magazines, cardboard and plastics. Items may be dropped in through conveniently placed windows, available and open to the public. Open Saturday and Sunday 8 am – 5 pm.


Recycling Center • 3102 S. Business 28

Items accepted: cardboard, newspaper, magazines, bond paper, computer paper, aluminum cans, steel cans, plastics #1 & #2 and automotive waste. Monday – Friday 8 – 6:30 pm; Saturday – Sunday, 8 – 5 pm.

*Edinburg also has a program set up for Recycling Center! It’s only $5/month (and a quick workshop to get started).


Recycling Center of McAllen • 4101 N Bentsen Rd

Drive up to the guard stand and let them know you need to drop off home recycling. The big blue bins are easy to spot!

*The City of McAllen has been picking up curbside home recycling once a week, since 1994! Check the schedule for your area.


Lion’s Park • 1500 Kika de la Garza Loop

Sanitation Department • 105 Abelino Farias

These are mobile recycling trailers. Each trailer has three bins – one for cardboard, one for paper, and one for plastic. 


Pharr Recycling Center• 1015 E. Ferguson Ave.

Accepts most recyclables— including light bulbs and e-waste! Here’s the full list.


Public Works Dept. • 217 E. Hickman St.

Items accepted: paper, cardboard, aluminum, plastic. Open to drop-offs Monday- Friday 9 am – 4 pm and Saturday 8 am – 12 pm.


Recycling Center of San Juan • 323 W. 1st St.

Accepts most recyclables, except glass.

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Renee K.
Hi. I’m Renee. Last year, I left my full-time job in New York, moved back home to Texas, bought a house, and popped out my first baby. Luckily, I did this all with my awesome husband and our totally bewildered cat. Now that we’re living in the RGV, I’m getting to know a whole new side of Texas— which I love. I also love my little girl, public libraries, fresh margaritas, adult conversation, and anything funny or satirical. (I used to love sleeping, but I think we all know that’s a lost cause.) When I’m not adjusting to life with a toddler, I'm working from home as a freelance copywriter. Oh, and downing copious amounts of iced coffee.


  1. We have been recycling for years! We live in Donna and we drive to Pharr a few times a month.

    Weslaco also has a drop off area at the corner of bus 83 and Texas blvd. But it gets full so fast.

    Great post!

  2. Just came across this post. I was living in NC for many years in a townhime with a shared dumpster and recycling area for all the units. I just was in the habit of sorting out what could be recycled on a regular basis …. then I moved back here. I live in Edinburg and my family recycled NOTHING. There were signs of an attempt like finding empty cardboard boxes in the garage, but who knows if that just didn’t fit in the trash bin or was being saved for a trip to the recycling center. Anyway, I’m like you – I want to be good so I make the effort to recycle what I can and even reach into the trash if I see someone wasn’t as thoughtful. :/ I do wish that more items could be recycled – particularly plastics but I have to say I’m impressed that the Edinburg facility is always hopping.

  3. I have about 800 pounds of black plastic drip irrigation line. I can’t find anyone who will take that. Do you know of anywhere?

    I know I can take it to the Harlingen dump, but was hoping to recycle it somewhere.


  4. I know this blog is pretty old and not sure you still write or monitor responses. I’m a Winter Texan and used to recycling as much as possible. Here is my question/problem: what are we supposed to do with plastic containers that are not #1 or #2? I cannot bring myself to throw those things in the trash; they will clog up the landfills for 1000 years! Is there any place in the RGV that will take items with recycling emblems on them that are not the #1 and #2 ? These are food containers, coffee “kups”, all kinds of things that are said to be recyclable but…WHERE? I real recently that when people deposit those items in the collection bins it takes a lot of time and money for employees to sort out the numbers and the plastic gets trashed anyway. HELP!!

    • Came upon this a year’s late, but I am currently looking for places in the Rio Grande Valley to recycle plastics (other than the usual plastic bottle, eg.). As of now, it seems that most recycling centers in the valley only accept #1 and #2 plastics. I found a company in McAllen that recycles other plastics (Valley Plastic & Paper Recycling), but it looks like they only work with large companies. I found something elsewhere where you can mail your plastics (I need to find it again), but I would prefer a place here in the valley to do so. I’ve become so conscious every time I throw plastic away now, but maybe this can be a catalyst for diversifying what we can (and should) recycle.


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