Mauricio Castelan of Balcones Stresses Importance of Recycling Education and Accessibility

Throughout his time with Balcones, Castelan always looked to jump in for additional work, proving his worth. Balcones recognized his passion and began promoting him up the chain.

Gage Edwards, Content Producer

July 5, 2023

3 Min Read

It takes a lot to work your way up in a company. You must be willing to go the extra mile in your current position, put in dedicated hours to prove your worth, and be hungry for success. Mauricio Castelan, general manager, of Balcones Resources Inc., worked his way up from a kid out of high school with no experience in waste, all the way up to general manager.

Castelan just celebrated his 15th year anniversary of working in the waste industry, first starting off working on a box truck helping with transportation. Throughout his time with Balcones, Castelan always looked to jump in for additional work, proving his worth. Balcones recognized his passion and began promoting him up the chain.

Balcones called Castelan “hungry” in his work, looking for more opportunities. Castelan turned a box truck role into general labor in the warehouse then to working with heavy equipment before he was able to help train new employees when Balcones acquired the city of Austin contract in 2012. This ability to lead and train pushed Castelan further up the chain to a supervisor position then to his current position as general manager. Castelan's no-quit attitude has led him to continued success, and he hopes to share that success with his fellow employees, putting them on the right path.

“I’m happy to do what I’m doing. I’m able to apply all my experience that I’ve learned in this company in order to help train other people,” said Castelan. “My team right now that I have, a lot of them also came from the MRF and from the warehouse and I wanted to give them the same opportunity to all the employees and to anybody else that wants to continue learning and building a career here.”

Castelan has seen all sides of collection and recycling at Balcones, and he echoes what a lot of other recycling experts have to say about what our biggest issue with recycling is today. That, of course, is the need for better education as well as accessibility.

“I’m out here in this warehouse and I’m looking at whats coming along my lines and what kind of challenges my sorters are facing. Even with high tech equipment like optical sorters, robotics, and everything else, there’s still very real people behind these conveyor belts sorting stuff, sifting through all this stuff and trying to separate everything,” said Castelan.

“We see motors in there, we see a lot of oil sometimes in there. We see all kinds of crazy things in those lines and it’s because people don’t understand what recycling really is.”

As advice to anyone seeking knowledge of what they can and can’t recycle in their area, Castelan encourages the public to reach out to their local facilities. As he has spent time in numerous positions in the recycling process, he says that most employees will be more than happy to answer questions on what can be brought in for recycling.

After the years of hard work, taking on jobs that needed someone to step up and find success in, Castelan is more than deserving of his 40 Under 40 Award. When he first got the email that he had one, he ignored it, thinking it was some kind of spam. When the COO of Balcones asked him if he had seen it, Castelan realized he had won.

“I was extremely humbled and honored … I have it [the 40 Under 40 Award] in my home, sitting there, and I look at it, it means a lot to me … The combination of all these 15 years, I get to this, it just feels great,” said Castelan.

Lastly, I asked Castelan what advice he would offer to anyone in the waste industry trying to make the same moves he did and succeed. Castelan said that people should educate themselves and become a professional at what they do. He added that, whatever you do, do it right.

About the Author(s)

Gage Edwards

Content Producer, Waste360

Gage Edwards is a Content Producer at Waste360 and seasoned video editor.

Gage has spent the better part of 10 years creating content in various industries but mostly revolving around video games.

Gage loves video games, theme parks, and loathes littering.

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