(City of Austin press release)
Austin, TX – The City of Austin, in partnership with Austin Young Chamber and the U.S. Business Council for Sustainable Development, announced the winners of the annual [RE]verse Pitch Competition, a program aimed at reducing waste in Austin through innovation and design. This year’s winners, known as Innovation Fellows, developed business ideas using another businesses’ ‘waste’. The Innovation Fellows will receive prizes valued up to $8,500, and participate in a four-month accelerator program to develop their ideas.
This year’s Innovation Fellows are:
Plant Baxter by Jordan Smith, Coleman Counihan and Daniel Barrios
Plant Baxter plans to create container gardens using unwanted large plastic sacks from Austin Eastciders and reclaimed wood from the construction industry.
DV Designs by Vincent Marsella and Deepak Chandra
DV Designs plans to create beverage coasters using spent grain from Fierce Whiskers Distillery.
Biochar Filter Socks by Petey Peterson and Seth Nyer
Locoal, an existing Austin-area company, plans to create ‘wattle socks,’ which help prevent soil erosion and capture toxins from storm-water runoff, using spent grain from Fierce Whiskers Distillery and used wooden pallets.
Lolas Classic Babies by Lolita Rodriguez and Lucero Valle Archuleta
Lolas Classic Babies, a woman-owned baby brand in Austin, plans to create bow ties using unwanted fabric decorator samples from Austin Creative Reuse.
During the virtual accelerator program, each team will receive mentorship, training, and community support while they further develop their circular business idea. The accelerator will culminate in the teams presenting these ideas to a cohort of investors as part of the City’s inaugural Circular Austin showcase on July 28, 2021.
This year’s [RE]verse Pitch Competition started on Feb. 2 at the virtual opening pitch event. Over the course of several weeks, competitors attended virtual workshops and worked with program mentors before submitting their business ideas to the competition. All submissions were reviewed by a panel of judges and selected based on equal scoring criteria.
The [RE]verse Pitch Competition is a collaboration between the City of Austin, Austin Young Chamber of Commerce, and the U.S. Business Council for Sustainable Development with additional support from a wide variety of community partners. Learn more at ReversePitch.org.
See this press release on City of Austin website.
In honor of Global Recycling Day (March 18th), The Recycling Partnership launched Communities for Recycling — an initiative to provide real-time recycling information through Facebook Messenger Pilot — starting with pilot programs in Fort Worth & Atlanta.
Robert Smouse, of STAR Mission Partners Fort Worth City Hall (City of Fort Worth), explained: "Communities like Fort Worth realize that social media is a progressively important communication tool to connect with new audiences for specific programs such as recycling... Fort Worth is proud to be one of the pilot cities chosen to share this personalized, hyperlocal recycling information to our residents. Recycling and waste minimization are important issues in our city. In order to reach the largest audience possible, who better to do that with than Facebook.”
The initiative is the result of a collaboration between the City of Fort Worth, the Recycling Partnership, Facebook and consumer packaged goods brands like PepsiCo.
Read more about the project on the City of Fort Worth's website.
NERC is convening a Work Group to develop model legislation for minimum post-consumer recycled content requirements for glass beverage and food containers, and fiberglass insulation. The goals for developing the model legislation are to:
“Glass is a highly recyclable material, and states consistently hear from stakeholders that markets for post-consumer glass must be strengthened to help develop more demand for this feedstock,” said Chris Nelson, Supervising Environmental Analyst of the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection. “Post-consumer recycled content standards for new glass products will help to create more robust markets for glass recovered through recycling programs.”
NERC’s intent for the Work Group is to bring together (virtually) a broad group of impacted stakeholders from industry and public sectors to achieve a positive outcome. The Work Group co-chairs are Chris Nelson, Supervising Environmental Analyst of the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection; and Stephen Burm, Director of Industry and Government Affairs, Anheuser-Busch with technical assistance from Ed Ferguson, Director of Sustainability, Anheuser-Busch.
“At Anheuser-Busch, we have a longstanding history of environmental stewardship and have committed to 100% of our packaging being made from majority recycled content or be returnable by 2025,” said Ed Ferguson, Director of Sustainability at Anheuser-Busch. “Through this work group, we look forward to working alongside all parties within the packaging and recycling supply chain to identify and build scalable solutions to help achieve this goal and set a model for others within the industry.”
The following are the identified stakeholders for the Work Group:
See Locator Map Here
Looking for a place to take recyclables, dispose of items that can’t go in your curbside trash, or even where to take storm damage debris and waste materials?
Use this tool to find the most convenient place to drop-off items for recycling or proper disposal. Be sure to call in advance to verify the information provided and ask about hours of operation, costs, and any other requirements to drop-off.
Remember that reuse is better than disposal. If your items can be reused, please visit the Austin Reuse Directory first. Common reusable items include clothes, furniture, toys, and other household items.
See more information on EPA's website
At the 2020 America Recycles Summit on November 17, 2020, EPA announced the overall national recycling goal of increasing the U.S. recycling rate to 50% by 2030. This national goal will provide the benchmark to evaluate the success of the collective efforts to improve the nation’s recycling system. EPA is now soliciting comments on the recycling rate measurement methodology.
Comments will be accepted until 11:59 PM ET on March 8, 2021
The purpose of this comment period is to inform the methodology and identify key data points that EPA may include when calculating the national recycling rate. For the purposes of this comment period, EPA is soliciting comments on the recycling rate measurement methodology only. The questions below are grouped into five key measurement categories related to the recycling rate: Sources of Recyclable Material, Material Streams, Material Management Pathways, Material Destination and Other Considerations.
Please submit the comments to the following docket: EPA-HQ-OLEM-2020-0443 at ORCRMeasurement@epa.gov.
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:
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!).
"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."
– Foam, cardboard, plastic caps, koozies, plastic bags and rubbish (See more of her works at www.calderkamin.com)
"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."
"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!"
"I built an 8'x8'x8' screen shelter in my backyard using:
"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.
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 ElectricityRates.com 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.
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).
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.
See more Holiday Light Tips on TCEQ's Take Care of Texas blog!
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 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.
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).
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.
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, 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.
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.
(Chose not to receive their bins yet due to COVID-19 school closing.)
STAR is a 501c3 non-profit organization
PO Box 142274
Austin, TX 78714
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Office: (402) 512-0090