RGV Cities Can Reduce Illegal Dumping

Written by Aime Mira
Edited by Abigail Vela

In 2020, the City Of McAllen opened the Recycling Center Citizen Drop-Off Facility, with services for the public and specific services available to McAllen residents. Non-McAllen residents were welcome to recycle: cardboard, paper, tin, aluminum, glass, and plastics coded #1 and #2. McAllen Residents (with an ID) were also able to dispose of bulky waste, tires, metal, brush, and used motor oil.

Most impressively, the City of McAllen has been able to offer these bulky item disposal services year-round for the last three years, keeping McAllen landscapes free from tires, mattresses, and household appliances that cause harm to the livable environment in the RGV, but a couple miles east of McAllen, residents in La Joya through Mission have a more difficult time accessing these same types of services.


Brochure of the McAllen Recycling Center
Brochure of the McAllen Recycling Center

Don’t Mess With the RGV

The landscapes in many of these areas are covered with illegally dumped items, but numerous dumped items could be adequately discarded through city programs.

The lack of advertisement for services can be noted on the City of Palmview’s Facebook page. When searching for ‘bulky item disposal,’ no posts were found, while the search ‘bulky item collection’ brought up two posts, one from 2023 and another from 2021.

City of Palmview Facebook Page

Equally, misinformation and lack of transparency of city programs by staff hinder the capabilities to reprocess items properly. For example, when contacting the City of Penitas, the staff expressed confusion when asked about bulky item disposal and recycling. Once transferred to the Penitas Public Works Department, an employee clearly stated that there were “no services for bulky items and debris.” Upon further search, their website showed, “mobile recycling bins are taken out of the local areas on a quarterly schedule,” but no schedule was posted or accessible for viewing. 

Mission Sanitation Department also provides residents with mobile recycling trailers located at Lion’s Park and the Sanitation Department. “Each trailer has three bins – one for cardboard, one for paper, and one for plastic.” However, no description of the types of plastic that can be recycled is given on their website. Bulky item disposal is also available once a year, but you can’t find that information on their website; you must deep-dive into their Facebook page. 


The City of La Joya doesn’t seem to have any options for residents to recycle, which can become a significant problem, as trash build-up can cause major flooding, fires, and attract pests into communities. According to Lower Rio Grande Valley Development Council (LRGVDC), illegal dumping “causes soil and water contamination. Harmful chemicals and other materials that are dumped can contaminate our water. If you dump it, you’ll drink it!” 

City of Mission Facebook Page

The Evidence is Telling

Citizens are noticing the lack of attention their cities are placing on their respective recycling and waste programs.

City of Mission Facebook Page
City of Palmview Facebook Page

Litter Free State of Mind

There needs to be more urgency to create programs that last. 


The marketing for the recycling programs and bulky item disposal from the cities mentioned have plenty of room for improvement. The cities of La Joya, Penitas, Palmview, and Mission should stress the importance of recycling programs through more advertising and marketing campaigns throughout their social media, newspapers, and community centers. 

Here’s a quick resource on the recycling centers in these areas.

Mobile recycling trailers located at Lion’s Park (1500 Kika de la Garza Loop), and at the Sanitation Department (105 Abelino Farias). Each trailer has three bins – one for cardboard, one for paper, and one for plastic. The public is invited to use the bins.

Bulky item collection is provided to all City residential solid waste customers.

Accepted Bulky items are:

  • Furniture
  • Mattresses
  • Stoves
  • Washing machines
  • Water heaters

The City encourages the public to recycle at nearby recycling centers. 

Mobile recycling bins are taken out of the local areas- on a quarterly schedule. No schedule was posted or accessible for viewing


No recycling center noted on the website.


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