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  • Wed, February 03, 2021 4:21 PM | Tamara Kowalski (Administrator)

    The STAR Reuse Council is proud to announce the winners of the Third Annual Texas Reuse Contest

    Congratulations to all of this year's winners and thank you to all who submitted their reuse projects! This year's contest sought the best reuse projects done in 2020. There were two categories open to individuals and businesses:

    • Best Construction and Remodeling Project of 2020
    • Best Art, Fashion and Furniture Project of 2020

    The First Place winner for each category will receive 2 free passes to the 2021 Texas Reuse Tour (dates and locations TBD), a Certificate of Achievement, and, of course, bragging rights!

    Second Place winners receive Certificates of Achievement (and also bragging rights!).

    And the winners are:

    Best Art, Fashion and Furniture Project

    First Place: re:3D, Reclaimed Materials & 3D Printing from Trash


    "For this particular project, we wanted to take excess materials and combine them with 3D prints made from trash to create new objects. We joined forces with a local reuse store to create chairs, benches, tables, and vases. The reuse store provided reclaimed 2 x 2 lumber, reclaimed wood slabs, and reclaimed glass which we designed around. All of the objects in the images were either printed with reclaimed water bottles, or scrap prints, and the wood and glass are all reclaimed materials provided by the reuse store. All of the pieces were then sold at a silent auction for 1 month at the reuse store.

    "We are currently designing objects for round 2 of this successful model. With 3D printing we can quickly adapt to whatever excess material we have and design new objects to print from trash."

    Second Place (tie): 

    Calder Kamin, Marigold Mongrel & Ultra Violet Vixen

    – Foam, cardboard, plastic caps, koozies, plastic bags and rubbish (See more of her works at


    "Nature never wastes. That's why I reuse! I am a creative reuse artist in Austin, TX and a board member at Austin Creative Reuse."

    Nicole Wayman, From a Tree House to Furniture


    "Ten years ago, my father, partner and I build a treehouse in our backyard for our then 6- and 4-year olds. After many years of use (hiding, reading, spying) we decided it was time to take it down (we have a small 50x130' lot). Covid hit and we were spending a lot more time at home. We needed some better furniture in our backyard. My now 14 year old and I had the idea to transform the treehouse into outdoor furniture! (It sounded so easy in our heads :) We found a design online and solicited help from my partner. We disassembled the treehouse into raw material (2x2s, 2x4s, 1x6s, 2x6s) and inventoried the wood. We quickly learned that we had to modify the design to suit the materials we salvaged. That took some creativity! After 8 days (2 weekends for full time working parents and online schooling teenagers), we finished two chairs and a table. We were able to reuse the wood screws that we saved during disassembly and found the left over seal and stain from the original project. We were so pleased with the project, I convinced the family to make two more chairs and another table! We slightly modified the design again to remove a little weight on the second set of chairs. Our only investment was our time, hard work and new cushions. Our neighbors were so inspired by our project, they took the leftovers from the treehouse-turned-furniture and made a workbench with custom horizontal storage for stained glass art projects. The very few leftovers from all of this were quickly scooped up by neighbors in response to a Next Door post (free)! Today, we use the chairs and tables every weekend. We enjoy breakfast, backyard movies and backyard social distancing in our new furniture! In addition to having unique furniture we can be proud of, we've taught our kids the value of hard work and importance of creativity!"

    Best Construction and Remodeling Project

    First Place: Martha Stockton, A Backyard Screen Room


    "I built an 8'x8'x8' screen shelter in my backyard using:

    • wood salvaged from my old cedar fence
    • a metal frame salvaged from a broken tent
    • a painter's canvas tarp (new)
    • 4x4 posts and 2x4 bracing
    • screening

    "I've been wanting a screen porch for years, but didn't want to pay for an expensive addition. My fence was old and falling down, so I removed the fence material, cut off the rotten ends, and used the roughly 4' pieces to construct a series of screened frames. I then mounted these frames to a structure of pressure-treated wood. For the roof, I repurposed the roof frame from a broken tent structure, strapped it to the frame, then attached a painter's canvas drop cloth. The door is two screen curtains I once ordered for a pair of French doors onto my patio. Because I designed it in small pieces, I was able to construct it myself (I did get some help from a friend who cut about half of the wood). I'm really pleased with the result—a small screen room in the shade of several trees in my backyard. I enjoy reading and eating out there, a pleasant retreat!

    See all of the winning entries' photos in our Facebook photo album.

  • Tue, January 19, 2021 1:47 PM | Tamara Kowalski (Administrator)

    Read Full Article Here

    EarthShare of Texas — of which STAR is a proud member organization — was named one of the Top 5 Environmental Organizations in Texas!

    STAR is highlighted by as one of the nearly 40 Texas-based environmental organizations that comprise ESTX. Several of the other organizations named in the Top 5 are ESTX members, as well. Thank you EarthShare of Texas! (See the listing for EarthShare below.)


    EarthShare of Texas Primary Work: Supporting Texas environmental organizations

    EarthShare Texas works to provide funds to a variety of Texas environmental organizations that are considered its “member charities.” These member charities are vetted by EarthShare Texas, which ensures the funds are put to good use.

    Every organization on this list is either a member charity or connected to a member charity of EarthShare Texas. But there are many more than those listed here:

    EarthShare Texas is extremely efficient with the money it receives, with 93 percent of its total expenditures going to its programs. Most organizations don’t come close to this.

    So if you want to support a broad selection of amazing environmental organizations in Texas, donating money to EarthShare Texas could be perfect for you. To learn more, head over to EarthShare Texas’s website.

  • Wed, December 30, 2020 12:33 PM | Tamara Kowalski (Administrator)

    As we celebrate the coming of a new year, full of hope and promise, we at STAR wanted to take a moment to look back to recognize and share our activities and successes of 2020.

    Despite almost a full year of the COVID-19 pandemic and its restrictions, STAR and STAR Councils were able to maintain a level of activity close to usual, by moving them online. We are proud of all we were able to accomplish, and could not have done it without our members, Mission Partners and supporters! Without further ado, here are our Top 10 Successes of 2020 (in no particular order).

    the STAR 2020 Top 10

    • The Texas Recycling and Composting Summit was held October 5th–9th, successfully combining our annual recycling and composting conferences into one big event for the first time ever, while also being moved to an online platform for the first time.
    • STAR and STAR Councils held 12 webinars and online activities throughout the year, including:
    • The 3rd Annual Texas Reuse Contest was held August 17th–October 20th, with great entries submitted from across Texas. Winners will be announced in January!
    • We began work on the Recycling Market Development Plan, a result of the successful 2019 passage of Senate Bill 649 in the Texas Legislature. STAR worked with partners Burns & McDonnell and Circular Matters to survey recycling processors and end users, as well as hold Stakeholder Forums on Recycling Market Development. We look forward to working more on this project in 2021.
    • We welcomed 168 new members and 10 new Mission Partners to STAR!
  • Tue, December 22, 2020 5:02 PM | Tamara Kowalski (Administrator)

    See wrapping & packaging tips here

    Wondering what to do with those old or broken holiday decorations once the holiday is over?

    Most holiday decorations cannot go in your recycling cart, but some communities offer recycling drop-offs. Check your local city or community recycling center to see if they will take them, and see a few ideas below.

    String light recycling

    See more Holiday Light Tips on TCEQ's Take Care of Texas blog!

    Christmas tree recycling

    • Travis County: (December 26 – January 10) Travis County will provide FREE Christmas tree recycling drop-off locations for Travis County residents. See their recycling web page.
    • City of Austin: curbside tree pickup, plus drop-off at Zilker Park; see City of Austin's Tree Recycling page
    • City of Denton: Denton's Solid Waste & Recycling is offering drop-off or curbside pickup (with call to schedule) to compost your tree. See details here.
  • Tue, December 22, 2020 2:36 PM | Tamara Kowalski (Administrator)

    Congrats to all of our STAR/Busch Systems 2020 Bin Grant winners!

    See photos below of our 2020 winners with their new recycling bins. Thank you to STAR Bin Grant sponsor Busch Systems, whose generous support allowed us to award more bins than ever before! Due to the pandemic, some of this year's recipients requested to delay receipt of their bins until they were able to get back into their offices and schools. 

    Wylie ISD

    Wylie ISD placed pairs of new 30-gallon trash and recycling bins in their newly renovated break & mail rooms at Wylie High School and Wylie East High School; in a high traffic area at Wylie High School next to soda/water bottle vending machines; and one set at their Facilities Building break room. They are holding aside 50 desk-side recycling baskets with hanging waste baskets to be used in new classrooms being added to various campuses. 

    Pictured: (l) Marcia Coker, Wylie ISD Facilities Manager; and (r) Wendy Fox, Maintenance Secretary and member of the District’s Green Team.


    City of San Marcos

    The City of San Marcos placed their new Busch bins across city departments, including an eco-station in the Parks & Recreation Department (Christie Murillo, Administrative Coordinator, pictured left) and in General Services (Sandy McKenize, Administrative Coordinator, pictured right).


    City of Pharr

    The City of Pharr is using their new bins for a recycling pilot project focused on reducing the amount of waste that city offices are producing. The program will demonstrate how much recyclable material is produced in an office setting and the need to purchase more bins for more city offices. They've placed the new bins across city departments, including (pictured, left to right) the Departments of Parks & Recreation, Fire, and Finance. 


    Austin Creative Reuse

    Executive Director Jenn Evans tells us, "Our new bins are already getting lots of use! We had originally allocated some of the smaller recycling bins for our workshop space and off-center events, but as those programs are still on hold (due to Covid), we have been using them to collect and sort school supplies donated during our school supply drive last month."

    Pictured (left to right): new bins in their donation processing area; in the break room; and Center Manager Jen Mack using her new bin.


    Magpies & Peacocks

    Magpies & Peacocks, Inc. is the nation’s only 501(c)3 non-profit design house dedicated to the collection and sustainable reuse of post-consumer clothing, scrap textiles and accessories diverted from landfill. They're using their new bins throughout their facility in Houston.


    Keep Odessa Beautiful

    Claudia Ortega, Executive Director of Keep Odessa Beautiful shared with us that, "We are extremely grateful for this opportunity, the need to expand on our recycling program is great and we have organizations/schools ready to initiate a recycling system." They have not been able to deliver the bins yet, however, due to the increase in Covid-19 cases in their area. They were able to share this photo with us of staff using them in their own offices for now.

    Mansfield High School

    (Chose not to receive their bins yet due to COVID-19 school closing.)

  • Tue, December 15, 2020 2:25 PM | Tamara Kowalski (Administrator)

    "Ninety percent of residents and consumers still expect to be able to recycle glass, according to members of the recycling value chain."

    The third annual survey by the Glass Recycling Coalition (GRC), released at the GRC Fall 2020 Member Meeting, queried more than 200 municipal officials, top glass industry professionals, and materials recovery facility (MRF) operators in an open survey from August to September 2020.

    The survey revealed some shift in perceptions, trends and concerns among glass recycling stakeholders.

    • Concerns about glass recycling decreased by 13 percent since 2018 among public-sector representatives; however, challenges persist in cost-effectiveness, end market availability, and contamination.
    • More than 55 percent of MRFs have increased recycling education influenced by current market conditions, increased contamination, and rising quality standards.
    • Ninety-five percent of public-sector respondents care about what happens to glass collected for recycling up from 53 percent in 2018.
    • Top priorities for the public-sector respondents included resident satisfaction, meeting recycling/sustainability goals and reducing contamination. Glass industry respondents named consumer’s desire to recycle glass as a top priority.
    • Haulers, MRFs and the public-sector were ranked as members of the value chain that should cover the cost of collecting and processing recyclables (not solely glass).
    • Approximately 50 to 60 percent of public-sector and glass industry respondents facing glass recycling challenges expressed interest in public-private partnerships and grants to improve glass recycling and help them achieve their goals.

    Download the full survey report and learnmore about the Glass Recycling Coalition at

  • Mon, November 23, 2020 7:11 PM | Tamara Kowalski (Administrator)

    Star Announces New Executive Director Brittany Rosenberg

    We are thrilled to announce that Brittany Rosenberg will be STAR's new Executive Director!

    Brittany joins STAR from the City of Fort Worth and brings a wealth of passion and industry knowledge. She has also been an active member of STAR and serves on the STAR Reuse Council Steering Committee as Treasurer.

    Her first day with the organization will be December 7, 2020. Brittany will fill the position vacated by Jordan Fengel, who served as Executive Director since 2018.

  • Mon, November 23, 2020 1:29 PM | Tamara Kowalski (Administrator)

    EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler announces new national goal for recycling—increasing the U.S. recycling rate to 50 percent by 2030.

    Administrator Wheeler made the announcement at the November 17th opening of the EPA's annual Recycling Summit, saying, "This ambitious national recycling goal will help guide investments and commitments from across the recycling system.”

    Peter Wright, EPA Office of Land and Emergency Management Assistant Administrator, added:

    “Without national leadership on this issue, recycling has lingered in the low 30 percent range for the last twenty years. The economic and environmental benefits from recycling are clear, and we’ve made a lot of progress, but much more needs to be done to obtain the benefits of increasing the national recycling rate to 50 percent by 2030. We appreciate every organization that has submitted comments on our draft National Recycling Strategy, participated in the recycling stakeholder groups over the last three years, and every organization that has issued a public commitment to continue to help us reach the national goal.”

    They shared three key objectives of the draft National Recycling Strategy: 

    1. Reduce Contamination in Recycling: Reducing the percentage of the wrong materials in the recycling stream helps ensure clean recyclable materials, such as paper, glass or plastic, can be processed and made into new products. 
    2. Make Our Recycling Processing System More Efficient: Making our processing system more efficient will help more of the material that is intended to be recycled get recycled. 
    3. Strengthen the Economic Markets for Recycled Materials: Strengthening the economic markets for recycled materials will help manufacturers make more products using recycled materials and encourage demand from consumers for more products that are made with recycled materials.

    Read the full EPA press release here.

  • Wed, November 18, 2020 9:04 PM | Tamara Kowalski (Administrator)

    Press release from the Can Manufacturers Institute website:

    WASHINGTON – June 23, 2020 – New research powerfully underlines the value that aluminum used beverage cans (UBC) bring to America’s recycling system.  A study conducted by Gershman, Brickner & Bratton, Inc. (GBB) for the Can Manufacturers Institute (CMI), Aluminum Beverage Can: Driver of the U.S. Recycling System, found that the relatively high value of UBCs make them essential to the country’s network of material recovery facilities (MRF). In fact, the report found that without the revenue from UBCs, most MRFs in the United States would not be able to operate without making significant changes that would ultimately affect the cost of recycling to consumers.

    The study further shows that MRFs can generate additional revenue from UBCs with investments in aluminum can recycling equipment. This equipment effectively and efficiently captures missorted cans and pays for itself in as short as one year, according to the new study released today. This equipment would increase MRF revenues by catching missorted, highly valuable UBCs.

    Read full press release here.

  • Fri, November 13, 2020 4:10 PM | Tamara Kowalski (Administrator)

    America Recycles Day is this Sunday, November 15th!

    America Recycles Day (ARD) is held every year on or around Nov. 15, with event organizers who educate neighbors, friends and colleagues through thousands of events. Now in it's 23rd year, ARD is a Keep America Beautiful initiative, recognized by the US EPA on America Recycles Day 2019, and is the only nationally recognized day dedicated to promoting and celebrating recycling in the United States. 

    Go to the America Recycles Day site where you can pledge to recycle, view a list of events around the country, or organize your own event.


    US EPA Events

    As part of America Recycles Day, the US EPA will be hosting it's America Recycles: Innovation Fair and Summit virtually on November 16–17, 2020. 

    See Agenda and Register

    The America Recycles: Innovation Fair, held November 16th, showcases recent advances in recycling technology, product development, and materials usage. Exhibitors will display new recyclable products, goods made from recycled content, innovative education and communication methods, or materials that promote more effective recycling, recycling and manufacturing research, and new technologies that are advancing recycling today and into the future.

    The America Recycles: Summit held on November 17th, brings together all organizations and individuals who are interested in making a difference in recycling in the United States. EPA plans to announce national recycling goals, provide an overview of its draft national recycling strategy, and facilitate engaging public and private sector discussions on advancing recycling.

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