Texas Disposal Systems Takes a 360° Approach to Sustainability
By Lauren Jones
Breaking news: The ice caps are melting at record pace, landfills are growing and even hotter Texas days are ahead. Is this the world you want to live in? With the recent announcement that the U.S. has officially pulled out of the Paris Climate Accord, it is more important now than ever to turn our focus to environmental sustainability.
The word “recycling” often brings to mind things like soda cans, paper and those oversized FedEx boxes from all the online shopping you’ve done recently. C’mon, you know what I’m talking about. Yes, you can recycle those things—and you should—but did you know that these things can be recycled too?
- Washers and dryers
- Scrap metal
- Aluminum foil
Recycling is the #1 thing we can do every day to help the world around us.
- Recycling conserves natural resources
- Recycling protects forests, which reduces CO2 emissions
- Recycling saves our oceans by preventing waste from entering the water
So, How Do I Recycle?
You’ve decided to recycle, yay you! Luckily, Texas Disposal Systems, one of the largest independently-operated waste management companies in the country, makes being nice to Mother Earth not only possible, but simple. They take the lead in cleaning up closed power plants, water systems and construction sites, recycling items such as concrete, asphalt, lumber and scrap metal. TDS also provides pickup for Austin and San Antonio neighborhoods, businesses and schools, and additionally offer collection services for annual events such as Austin City Limits and Fiesta de Los Reyes San Antonio.
Did you know that every day 300 tons of unsorted recyclables make their way through the TDS Materials Recovery Facility (MRF)? That’s 600,000 pounds of recyclable materials.
Once at the MRF, towers of materials are separated, systemically processed and sorted by both machine and by hand before they are compressed into bales and shipped off to mills and processing facilities. Once there, that soda can, paper and even those FedEx boxes are repurposed and given new life. Currently, TDS is working toward closing the recycling loop and reducing their carbon footprint by processing the bales in-house.
In addition to their recycling efforts, TDS wants to make sure that any residential and commercial waste, including fruit and vegetable scraps, tea bags, coffee grounds and liquids (such as milk and juice), as well as green waste such as brush, tree trimmings and leaves don’t end up in the landfill. Did you know that each year Americans throw out 1,200 pounds of garbage that can actually be composted? Once compostable materials are collected and make their way to the Texas Organic Products site, they are sorted, separated and processed. After a few weeks, the material is ready to be made into mulch, soil and compost, and sold as part of TDS’s premium organic gardening line, Garden-Ville.
Now that you’re in the know, head to their website, texasdisposal.com. On the home page, you’ll be able to find up-to-date information on pickup in your neighborhood and drop off locations for bulky items and hazardous waste, as well as a widget for searching how to recycle particular items. You can even get your kids involved with their waste-sorting game—an educational function that’s surprisingly fun and addictive.
Diversion: The End Game
All games aside, the main goal is to divert waste from the landfill. Think about it. More recycling and composting = less waste = less garbage on our precious planet. Makes it all seem like a no-brainer, right?
The sooner our country’s plans for environmental sustainability change, the better. But you can make the first step. You have the power to change the way you act. Each year, 250 million tons of trash are produced, enough to cover the state of Texas twice! Scary right? Every single thing you use, throw away, and recycle makes an impact on the world around us.
Think about your day and every item you’ve thrown out. Could any of those been recycled or composted?
Besides making a conscious effort to recycle and compost at home or in your office, it’s essential to get your family involved in making this Earth a cleaner place. TDS feels the same. That is why they have started Eco Academy, an innovative program for elementary school students, to learn all the ins and outs of waste diversion. Over the next two years, the program will expand into both middle and high schools across Central Texas. When we educated ourselves, and subsequently take action, amazing things can happen.
Recycled Goods Are the New Black
Once you’ve recycled, composted and learned a few things you can do, take it one step further. Help the environment by becoming a recycling rock star! The next time you go to the store, bring your own glass or reusable containers and cloth bags. On average, each American throws out 500 plastic shopping bags, which mainly end up in the landfill. When there, also look for items from environmentally friendly brands, such as Seventh Generation, Beyond Meat, and Numi Tea or items that are upcycled. For example, a purchase from Garden-Ville might transform your garden to be the best on the block—while at the same time giving back to the planet that so desperately needs our help. It’s a small way to do your part. Helping the planet isn’t just one person’s job or solely Texas Disposal System’s responsibility. It’s on all of us.