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Leading the recycling charge

Eagle’s Trace hosts first annual Clean Up, Clean Out event

Created date

March 22nd, 2011

Last year, the city of Houston added 30,000 households to its single-stream recycling program, launched a green office challenge, and hired a new sustainability director. But will all these changes translate into a more eco-friendly city? Houston has beefed up its recycling efforts since Waste News, a trade magazine, ranked the city at the bottom of the national heap in 2008. Recycling a scant 2.6% of total waste at the time, Houston has since been trying to shed its image as the country s most wasteful city. But it s going to take more than efforts from city officials to change the way Houstonians think about trash. It s going to take initiative and creativity from residents who are passionate about changing Houston for the better. It s going to take people like those at Eagle s Trace, an Erickson Living community in west Houston. Recently, Earth Day came early during the community s first annual Clean Up, Clean Out event.

Doing more

We already had programs in place to recycle paper, plastics, aluminum, and glass, says Janice Linsenmayer, a resident since 2005 and member of the Environmental Committee. But many of our residents wanted to recycle additional items like paint, electronics, or light bulbs; they just didn t know where to take them. In response, the resident-led Environmental and Community Outreach Committees teamed up to organize a morning of recycling. Several booths, each collecting a different item, circled the lower level of the community s clubhouse. This event really served two purposes, says Donna Craig, one of the organizers and a member of the Community Outreach Committee. It gave us a chance to clean out our apartments and do some good for the environment at the same time.

Successful endeavor

By midday, it was clear the event had accomplished what it set out to do. A shredding truck, parked by the front door, buzzed steadily for two hours. Volunteers filled one truck with electronics and another with paint and chemicals for proper disposal. They collected over 80 pounds of batteries and 240 medications, and donated a carload of clothes and another carload of medical supplies to a local charity. The feedback from residents was equally encouraging. This was fantastic, says Dorothy Davison. The last time I had papers to shred, I had to be at a recycling facility by 7:30 in the morning to see them shredded and it cost me $60. Today I was able to shred several boxes of papers for free right in my own front yard.

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