A new Neighborhood Depository and Recycling Center in East Aldine is the first in Texas to be operated by a management district.
The center will allow residents to throw away their tree waste, junk waste, passenger tires and recycling free of charge. It was made in an effort to help residents who have larger trash but don't have a means of disposing of it.
Carlos Silva is the chairman of the East Aldine Management District. He said the new center will also prevent illegal dumping.
"Part of the problem is if you don't give people a place to be able to do it legally, then they're just gonna find a way to do it on their own," he said.
Around 70,000 residents who live in the area will be able to use the facility. While the ribbon cutting was on Thursday, the center has had a soft opening for the past month.
"Instead of going under the cover of darkness to throw their trash, [residents] can come here, do it legally, and feel good," Silva said.
Residents are asked to make an appointment and provide proof of residency in the community. Silva said walk-ins might be available as demand increases.
"[We want to] showcase the ability for other management districts," Silva said. "Maybe other municipalities or small towns that don't have a program like this that where there's a will, there's a way."
Richard Cantu is the executive director of the East Aldine Management District and said the district had been trying to open this center for over a decade.
"A lot of the community out here does not have an organized, contracted, trash service through their water district like some neighborhoods do," he said. "This facility is even more important because of that.
Cantu said for now, the district will focus on telling illegal dumpers about the new service.
"We still need to work on a plan to help when we run across a senior citizen who does not have a pick up truck and cannot physically load it and bring it here," he said.
Marina Flores Sugg is a resident in East Aldine and said the center will give her a place to direct others as well.
"People wanna recycle. We just didn't have the opportunity. We didn't know where to take it," she said. "We're giving people the opportunity to do what they really wanna do. Save mother earth. Save the environment."