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Taking the three Rs to heart

Residents at West Houston community embrace low-waste lifestyle

Created date

June 25th, 2013

Recycling goes well beyond the usual paper, plastic, and glass at Eagle s Trace, where residents are leading the effort to minimize waste. On April 22nd Earth Day the community hosted its second recycle and donate event. Residents, staff, and visitors brought everything from electronics to greeting cards with the hope of keeping these items out of landfills. Several months ago, we put together a list of items we would be collecting, says Eagle s Trace resident Becky Ogle, who spearheaded the effort. The response from the community was huge. The event lasted two hours, and we kept filling boxes and bags. Outside the Audubon Clubhouse, residents worked tirelessly to fill trucks bound for recycling facilities. Inside the clubhouse, residents manned booths to collect books, CDs, light bulbs, aluminum can pull tabs, wine corks, greeting cards, cell phones, used clothing, and medical supplies. It makes me feel good knowing that I can bring my unwanted items, says Virginia Payne, who lives at Eagle s Trace. Many of these items will be used to benefit others.

Recycling with a purpose

As part of their ongoing recycling efforts, residents at Eagle s Trace have established partnerships with charities in the greater Houston area. We donate the aluminum can pull tabs to the Ronald McDonald House, which sells them back to Coca-Cola, says Becky. The money they receive is used to buy toys for children who stay at the Ronald McDonald House. Residents also collect corks from wine bottles at last count the community had amassed more than 320,000 which are sold to Spec s liquor stores for two cents each. That money more than $6,400 is donated to pediatric cancer research. The recycle and donate event puts the community s recycling efforts in the spotlight, but recycling at Eagle s Trace goes beyond a one-day event, says resident Donna Craig, who started many of the community s recycling initiatives. Residents can recycle paper, plastic, and bottles on a regular basis, as well as batteries and ink cartridges. We also collect books, greeting cards, used clothing, and medical supplies. Every Wednesday, Donna loads up her car with donated clothing and medical supplies and drops them off at local charities. I take the clothing to West Houston Assistance Ministries and the medical supplies to Project C.U.R.E., says Donna. Project C.U.R.E. is the leading provider of donated medical supplies and equipment to developing countries around the world. Donna says the volume of clothing and medical supplies donated at the event was enough for two carloads. I had to recruit a friend to help me deliver the clothes because we had so many, she says. Donna thinks twice before throwing anything away. Instead, she considers how it can be reused or repurposed. She says many residents share the same mindset. There s a growing awareness in our country that we have too much and we waste too much, says Donna. Those of us who have moved to Eagle s Trace are on the forefront of the recycling and reducing effort.

Sharing their vision

The recycle and donate event gave Eagle s Trace residents the opportunity to share their vision with the younger generation. They invited preschool students from the Big Little School in Spring Branch to bring their recycling to the community. My daughter is the director of the Big Little School, and we felt this was an opportunity to partner with the students to highlight the importance of environmental responsibility, says Eagle s Trace resident Nancy Bell. As the busload of four and five year olds pulled into the Eagle s Trace parking lot, residents gathered around to greet them. Wide-eyed, the students dropped off their recycling at the designated booths in the clubhouse before enjoying a snack and story time. It s nice to see the generations coming together for a good cause, says Nancy.