Home > STAR > 2018: Year in Review

Join us as we take a look back on 2018 to show where we’ve been and how we’ve worked towards our mission to advance recycling in Texas. We hope you enjoy these memories and involvement and will continue to join us in supporting recycling in Texas in 2019.

  1. STAR’s New Mission & Focus
  2. Staff Transitions & New Board Members
  3. Mission Partners & Membership
  4. Legislative Action– House Bill 286
  5. Successful 2018 Texas Recycling Summit
  6. Council Highlights– Reuse Council, Texas Product Stewardship Council, Texas Compost Council, Central Texas, North Texas, San Antonio
  7. Master Composters Give Back to the Community
  8. Professional Development Through Our Webinar Series
  9. Bin Grants Provided for Developing Recycling Programs
  10. Where We’ve Been– Snapshots from 2018
  11. Thank you!

Adopting and Adapting a New Mission

STAR announced our new mission and partnership levels earlier this summer. We are excited for these changes as a new opportunity to shift focus on this fast-changing industry and and align the organization to respond to today’s industry needs.

“STAR’s mission is to advance recycling through partnerships, education, and advocacy for the benefit of Texas.”

With this realignment came some additional changes to the previous Mission Sponsor benefits. STAR staff, as well as the Board of Directors, is confident that we have added even more value to our partners. You can download the full press release here, and learn more about our partner levels here.

STAR Staff & Board of Directors

Staff Updates

STAR went into 2018 in search of a new Executive Director after the departure of Sara Nichols at the end of 2017. It was a tough loss for STAR, but we were also excited to bring in someone new to add to STAR’s flame. We welcomed Jordan Fengel in February of 2018 as Executive Director. Jordan brought a new spark to STAR with creativity, deep passion, and a determined path for STAR in response to the China Sword. Jordan helped us reestablish our mission, bring more benefits to our mission partners, great speakers and content to Summit, and some additional structure to our everyday operations.

Board of Directors

In 2018, we welcomed six new Board Members: Allen Butcher, IT Recycling Group, Jason Keller, United Electronic Recycling, Paul Kuhar, Champion Waste & Recycling Services, Ken May, Capitol Area Council of Governments (CAPCOG), Joan Meeks, Commodity Recycling Solutions, and Andrea Rodriguez, FCC Environmental Services. We are very excited to have them and can’t wait to see what fresh ideas and partnerships they will bring to STAR!

We would also like to give a big thank you to our Board members who have rolled off the Board in 2018, including our Board Chair, Ashley Faseler, Waste Management, Steve Shannon, Waste Connections, and Josephine Valencia, City of San Antonio.

Sarah Mason, City of Houston, who has served on the STAR Board for five years will take over as Board Chair for 2019, as well as Jason McCombs, City of Austin, who will serve as our vice chair. View our full Board roster for 2019 here.

Mission Partners

2018 was another great year for Mission Partners with a total of 21 partners– seven of which were first time partners of STAR, while 14 continued their support by renewing their partnerships. The STAR staff and Board of Directors are thrilled that these companies choose to support the STAR mission of advancing recycling in Texas, and we are very appreciative of the financial support that allows STAR to continue working on valuable programs and events in Texas. Thank you to all of our partners– we look forward to solving problems, continuing meaningful work, and creating lasting partnerships!

Our STAR mission partners and members are the glue that hold STAR together and allows us to advance recycling across the state and we could not do all we do without your support and involvement! Learn more about our membership and mission partner opportunities here.

Legislative Action– HB 286

The STAR Business Council, with a focus of policy advocacy, advanced a piece of legislation which was sponsored by Rep. Ed Thompson and is now HB 286. This bill asks the State of Texas to fund a Comprehensive Market Development Plan which will create incentives and other means to attract businesses involved in the processing and the consumption of recyclable materials. Additionally, HB 286 seeks to implement a state-wide educational campaign that will highlight the economic importance and benefits of recycling in Texas, and how to recycle properly to keep materials clean for manufacturing. We look forward to the momentum and support we’ve received to help make a difference during the 2019 Legislative session. Learn more about the Business Council here.

Texas Recycling Summit

The STAR staff and Board of Directors would like to give a HUGE thank you to everyone who helped make Summit possible in 2018! We were thrilled to be in Galveston last year, showcasing excellent and engaging educational sessions, a packed exhibit hall, tons of networking, great food, and much more. We could not have put on the event without the support from our sponsors, vendors, and everyone who attended!

Throughout Summit, we had around 230 people in and out of conference sessions and events. The Texas Recycling Summit is our biggest fundraiser, and Summit provides value back to STAR members and supporters. We heard nothing but great things about the conference sessions and networking events and we are so excited to get started on this year’s Summit so that we can continue to bring you top-notch education and networking opportunities. We hope you will join us in San Antonio from September 9-11 for the 2019 Texas Recycling Summit! (See more photos from this year’s Summit on our Facebook page).

Texas Environmental Leadership Awards

This year’s award ceremony was presented at the Texas Recycling Summit, where 20 organizations, communities, and individuals were honored for their outstanding commitments to recycling and sustainability. View a list of all the winners and honorable mentioned on our website.

Council Highlights

Reuse Council

The Reuse Council finished off their first full year with a variety of events and webinars. They took over Houston in May for their first-ever city Reuse Tour– with over 20 folks from Austin, Fort Worth, San Antonio, and Houston joined for this day-long tour of reuse businesses. The group toured and listened to the stories behind each of these reuse businesses: the Houston Furniture Bank, the City of Houston Reuse Warehouse, Texas Art Asylum, Magpies and Peacocks, and the Green Building Resource Center. Next up: Fort Worth! Save the date for the next city reuse tour in Fort Worth, May 2-3.

Texas Product Stewardship Council (TxPSC)

The TxPSC put together a roundtable meeting in July that brought multiple organizations together to discuss the current management and issues with one-pound propane cylinders. A total of 15 people representing organizations such as the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, TCEQ, various HHW operators, Waste Management, Balcones Resources and local and regional governments spent the day discussing the topic and identified that there is a lack of consumer education about the proper management of one-pound cylinders and also inconsistent disposal and recycling options. An action group that will help push out the “ReFuel Your Fun” campaign was formed and will be working to educate Texans about the availability of refillable one-pound cylinders at multiple retail locations across the state. The group will also work to identify and establish refill locations across Texas.

Texas Compost Council (TCC)

This year, the STAR TCC opted to postpone the Texas Compost Council Summit and Training, due to our change in leadership and other planning issues. We look forward to hosting it again in October 2019! 

This annual workshop for industrial composters is a great opportunity to learn and network with other industrial composters in Texas and includes educational sessions with CEUs, field activities, and demonstrations. The is the premiere training event for large-scale compost operations in Texas. If you would like to help plan this event, please contact the STAR office.

STAR Central Texas

STAR Central Texas hosted some great events this year, kicking off 2018 with the 4th Annual S.P.A.R.K. Forum in February, focusing on compost and food waste. There were also discussion panels, active learning workshops, and plenty of great networking opportunities!

The council also hosted various educational tours and networking events such as a tour of the Dell Diamond in May, home of the Round Rock Express baseball team, to learn all about their zero waste event initiatives. Then we cheered on the Express as they took on the Iowa Cubs while networking with fellow tour attendees. Special thanks to the Dell Diamond for having us and hooking us up with game tickets!

In August, we toured STILL Austin Whiskey to learn about their sustainability efforts at this local distillery. We had a great group of diverse people and enjoyed learning, networking, and tasting! Thanks to all who came out and to STILL Austin for hosting us!

The 23rd Annual Lake Travis Clean-Up Marine Debris Sort at Emerald Point Marina was held in September to help sort recycling and collect data on what kind of material is being found at the bottom of lakes. Unfortunately this year we found that Lake Travis has been contaminated with invasive zebra mussels, resulting in only a small percentage of material pulled out of the lake could be recovered and recycled while the rest of the contaminated material had to be sent to landfill. We hope we don’t run into the same issue in 2019.

STAR North Texas

The North Texas group kicked off 2018 with a tour of the Tetra Pak North American Manufacturing Plant in Denton. In July, they also hosted a special film screening of REUSE! Because You Can’t Recycle the Planet to learn about reuse opportunities and innovations through fun and simple solutions.

The annual North Texas Environmental Leadership Awards Luncheon was held in August, honoring 11 winners and nine honorable mentioned for their excellence in environmental stewardship.

STAR North Texas and the North Texas Corporate Recycling Association (NTCRA) continued hosting their Annual Recycler’s Golf Tournament on America Recycles Day in November, which was a big success.

The North Texas group wrapped up 2018 with their annual membership meeting and holiday luncheon held at La Hacienda Ranch where we enjoyed good food, good company, and started the conversations for what’s in store for 2019. Thank you to all involved in these great events and our gracious sponsors!

STAR San Antonio

STAR San Antonio hosted a variety of educational and networking events this year including a tour of the San Antonio Water System (SAWS) in February, the City of New Braunfels Recycling Center in March, and a tour of the Pearl Brewery in May. 

The group also toured the Lackland Joint-Base San Antonio (JBSA) recycling facility in June, which employs over 80,000 people and graduates over 1,000 airmen every week. The base has everything from retail, dining halls, office space, and housing. The recycling operations include single stream cart collection, cardboard collection, baling, scrap metal, and HHW.

In July, the group hosted a lunch and learn presentation of the San Antonio River Authority (SARA), including an overview of SARA’s programs and what we can all do to protect our watersheds. The San Antonio council closed out 2018 with their end of year holiday potluck meeting. Thanks to all who attended and helped plan these events!

Master Composter

In 2018, we were proud to see that Master Composters across Texas participated in more than 600 hours of volunteer service to educate the public about the benefits of backyard composting and reducing the amount of organic material going to landfills. STAR provides statewide administration for this program, and we provided certificates to Master Composters in San Marcos, Fossil Rim, Houston, Plano, San Antonio, and Grand Prairie.  If you are interested in hosting a Master Composter training in your area, please reach out to the STAR office.

STAR Educational Webinar Series

One of the many ways STAR is educating industry professionals on the recycling happenings in Texas is through our educational webinar series, where we invite other industry professionals to speak, present, and answer questions on their experiences in the field. We’ve found our webinars increasing in popularity and know that our STAR members love the opportunity to participate in professional development opportunities from the comfort of their own desks (or from home). In 2018, we hosted four webinars on a variety of topics such as:

  • Materials Exchanges
  • Plastics Terminology: What Goes Where
  • Borrowing Beyond Books: Unconventional Libraries
  • Impacts of Reuse on Climate Change

We had a total of 137 people tuning in to our webinars in 2018, and look forward to increasing that number and providing even more value to our STAR network and industry professionals in Texas and beyond. Look back on your favorites, watch the ones you missed, and check out all of our previous and upcoming our webinars here.

Bin Grants

Bin grants are one of the ways we are helping to enhance recycling infrastructure by seeking out and providing unused bins to rural schools and communities who are struggling with funding for creating or maintaining a recycling program. These bins help to encourage recycling and reuse and we are proud to be a part of the solution. In 2018, STAR gave out more than 300 bins to San Antonio ISD and South Padre Island.

Looking towards 2019, STAR has partnered with Busch Systems to enhance our bin grant program. We look forward to implementing this new partnership and continue granting these valuable bins to those in need to start developing their recycling programs. More details to come on this new program aspect.


Looking Ahead at 2019

The new year already has so much promise and opportunity for more projects, learning, networking, and of course, recycling! On behalf of the STAR staff and Board of Directors, we want to thank our amazing members, partners, volunteers, supporters, and those who personally donated to the STAR mission, for helping us have such a successful 2018. We could not do it without your support.