STATE OF TEXAS ALLIANCE FOR RECYCLING

ADVANCING RECYCLING IN TEXAS

STAR NEWS

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  • Fri, July 16, 2021 12:43 PM | Tamara Kowalski (Administrator)



    NEWS RELEASE

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

    7.16.2021



    Contact: Frank Franciosi, uscompostinginfrastructure@gmail.com



    U.S. COMPOSTING INFRASTRUCTURE COALITION APPLAUDS INTRODUCTION OF COMPOST ACT


    Raleigh, NC — The US Composting Council and the U.S. Composting Infrastructure Coalition applauds Representatives Julia Brownley (D-CA-26), Chellie Pingree (D-ME-01), and Ann Kuster (D-NH-02), for introducing the Cultivating Organic Matter through the Promotion of Sustainable Techniques (COMPOST) Act in the U.S. House of Representatives and introduced by Senator Cory Booker in the U.S. Senate. 

    The COMPOST Act meets the growing demand from individuals and businesses to compost food scraps and certified compostable packaging. Assisting the transition to a circular economy, the COMPOST Act would create new USDA grant and loan guarantee programs for composting infrastructure projects, including large-scale composting facilities as well as farm, home, or community-based projects. The bill would add composting as a conservation practice for USDA conservation programs. Both the act of producing compost from organic waste and using compost on a farm would qualify as conservation practices. This bill addresses a critical need for regions and communities around the country looking to expand access to food waste composting, an important step to lead the shift to net-zero. 

    “Implementing innovative and responsible waste solutions like composting serves as an opportunity to address key environmental challenges and bring positive economic impacts to people and communities. While there is still significant need for robust investment in composting infrastructure, the COMPOST Act is a critical step in the right direction,” said Jessica Bowman, Executive Director of the Plant Based Products Council, a member of the Coalition. 

    “By investing in composting infrastructure, we can help address our climate crisis, create local jobs and improve both our agricultural and urban soils,” said Frank Franciosi, Executive Director of the U.S. Composting Council, a member of the Coalition. “The benefits of increased compost production include reduced volumes of organic materials flowing to landfills, lowered methane emissions, sequestering carbon back into the soil and closing the loop on a circular economy.” 

    “A massive investment in composting infrastructure is needed for rural and urban America. Composting can restore depleted soils, protect the climate and create thousands of new jobs. We won’t see these benefits if we don’t help farmers, entrepreneurs, and local government build needed systems and programs,” said Brenda Platt, Director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance’s Composting for Community Project, a member of the Coalition. 

    "Lack of widespread food scrap collection and processing infrastructure is one of the biggest barriers to the growth and success of the compostable products industry," notes Rhodes Yepsen, Executive Director of Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) and Coalition member. "Compostable products, unlike recyclables, are not collected on their own. They are collected as part of a broader organics stream that includes food scraps. USCIC partners estimated that it would take about $2 billion to expand compost access nationally, which is why the Act is calling for this level of funding.”

    ----30----

    The U.S. Composting Infrastructure Coalition brings together a cross-section of industry leaders to promote increased investment in composting infrastructure.

    Learn more about the U.S. Composting Infrastructure Coalition at https://compostinfrastructure.com/ or write to us at uscompostinginfrastructure@gmail.com

  • Thu, July 15, 2021 4:27 PM | Tamara Kowalski (Administrator)


    RECYCLING INFRASTRUCTURE PLAN RELEASED

    (ILSR press release)

    FOR RELEASE: July 15, 2021

    Washington, D.C. – The Recycling Is Infrastructure Too Campaign released its first Recycling Infrastructure Plan today.  There are a total of 50 initiatives and requests for funding of $3.3 billion in physical infrastructure, and $3.3 billion for Infrastructure Support Policies and Programs for the first year. Over a three year period, the Plan recommends a total investment of $16.3 billion. The National Recycling Coalition (NRC), the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) and Zero Waste USA issued a request for the inclusion of “waste reduction, reuse, recycling and composting that will stem climate disruption, address racial justice, and create thousands of jobs throughout the country” in a March 31st press release. This Recycling Infrastructure Plan is the follow-up, with detailed policies and programs that should be included in the infrastructure discussions on Capitol Hill. 
     

    Recycling Infrastructure Needs

    “The Plan  presents the following Recycling Infrastructure initiatives, brought forward by a coalition of national reuse, recycling and composting experts, local government organizations and environmental leaders that desire to strengthen our national recycling infrastructure,” stated Richard Anthony, Vice President for Advocacy of Zero Waste USA. These initiatives are presented as investments in physical infrastructure, and then needed investments in supporting infrastructure needed to maximize the efficiency and use of these physical investments. 

     “Adding billions of dollars in economic activity to the American economy each year, the recycling circular economy is in its infancy, while recycling infrastructure is fractured and in need of repair much like U.S. bridges and road systems,” stated Bob Gedert, NRC President. With a combination of investments in physical infrastructure (like collection vehicles, carts and processing facilities) and supporting infrastructure (e.g. policies, programs, education and training), the American recycling infrastructure will grow significantly beyond the economic strength it currently is, creating the circular economy described by the Ellen Macarthur Foundation and already accomplished in large part in China. 

    Gedert further noted: “The dollar estimates for each initiative are for the first year of a proposed 3-year investment strategy. The focus for these investments is on one-time expenses that would modernize the industry, and then be sustainable thereafter based on fees for services. The recommended funding source for this infrastructure investment could continue to help fund supporting infrastructure thereafter, and also be used to help fund other climate change initiatives.” 
     

    Proposed Funding for Recycling Infrastructure

    Ruth Abbe, President of Zero Waste USA highlighted that “this Plan also provides for innovative funding mechanisms for this infrastructure investment, to avoid the need  to be supported solely by the General Fund of the U.S. Government. Many European nations have adopted significant fees on landfills of $20-40/ton to fund recycling programs and reduce greenhouse gases. This proposal recommends that the Federal government adopt a national $20/ton Producer Responsibility  Fee on landfills and incinerators to help fund the above programs and contribute a new revenue source that would actually help meet the nation’s Climate Change goals at the same time.” 

    Gedert noted that “Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) programs that hold producers fiscally responsible, but not physically responsible, for the proper management of products and packaging they produce according to the Zero Waste Hierarchy of Highest and Best Use are suggested to be used for hard to recycle items.” National or State level EPR programs should require a local government reimbursement from industry fees because local governments bear the first line of expense of products' end-of-life management costs.  

    These EPR programs provide their own funding for the development of needed infrastructure, so should be considered as self-contained, fully funded infrastructure programs. These programs don’t require a Federal investment of financial capital. Instead, these just require a Federal investment of political capital to establish these programs.  

    Neil Seldman from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance noted “There are also 5 Initiatives that reduce or eliminate Federal subsidies and will stimulate the development of infrastructure, once the marketplace adjusts. As a result, these should be considered as contributing to offsetting the cost of some of the proposed infrastructure investments. These programs reduce Federal investments of financial capital.” 

    Seldman continued “Other funding sources could include a fee on non-recyclable packaging and products that are toxic to the environment or create needless waste.” Examples include but are not limited to disposable floor cleaning pads, paper towels, and mercury switches in sneakers to create light.

    Recycling Infrastructure Plan Webinar

    Join on July 27th at 2 - 3:30 pm EDT  to hear more details about this Recycling Infrastructure Plan. Register for this FREE Webinar and to get a link to the Plan at: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_UAq6sNmkS8qyEKBpGNGViw

  • Mon, June 14, 2021 2:00 PM | Nia Nickens (Administrator)


    The 2021 Texas Environmental Leadership Awards Call for Nominations is Now Open!

    APPLICATIONS CLOSE at 5pm CDT on friday, JUly 16, 2021

    REVIEW THE NOMINATIONS PACKET

    Submit Nominations Here

    STAR is pleased to announce the call for nominations for the 2021 Texas Environmental Leadership Awards. Nominate your favorite Texas recycling or composting advocate, program, or event before the 5pm deadline on July 16th!

    These awards recognize true stewards of environmental change in Texas – individuals, communities, organizations, and businesses developing and maintaining programs involving recycling, composting, sustainable materials management, public education and outreach, special event recycling – and so much more.

    This year, STAR is combining its regional award categories into one large statewide Texas Environmental Leadership Awards competition. 

    * STAR members who are nominated will receive an additional 5 points toward their score!

    This year's awards categories are:

    • Outstanding Public Outreach & Environmental Outreach
    • The Cis Myers Sustainability Leadership Award
    • Extraordinary Recycling Special Event
    • Exceptional Recycling Partnership
    • Excellence in Environmental Awareness Education
    • Innovative Compost or Greenscaping Program
    • Superior Material Recovery
    • Volunteer Recognition – Humanitarians of the Year  

    Winners will be announced at an Awards Ceremony and Dinner on Thursday, October 7th, as part of Summit 2021 in-person events in Granbury, TX.

    See more about the 2021 Texas Recycling Summit


  • Fri, May 28, 2021 3:20 PM | Tamara Kowalski (Administrator)

    STAR Business Council Releases Video to Texas Lawmakers on RMDP

    See video on STAR's new YouTube channel

    On May 25th, 2021, the STAR Business Council released a video addressing lawmakers in the 87th Texas Legislature expressing continued support for the creation of the Recycling Market Development Plan (RMDP). The video features STAR partners and recycling stakeholders who state their own impact on the recycling industry in Texas and the importance of recycling to the Texas economy as a whole. They encourage support and action on the Plan’s recommendations when released in September 2021. (See more about the RMDP on our website here.)

    The goal of the RMDP is to examine the current recycling economy in Texas, discover opportunities for growth, and draft a proposal for action. It also includes the creation of a comprehensive educational campaign to cover the economics of recycling in Texas, highlight businesses that are involved in recycling in Texas, and to reduce contamination. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) retained Burns & McDonnell to complete the project, and STAR is working with them to complete these goals.

  • Tue, May 18, 2021 5:30 PM | Tamara Kowalski (Administrator)


    Vote for Board of Directors and Council Steering Committees by COB May 26th!

    BOD Election Ballot 

    Steering Committee Election Ballot 

    Voting is now open for both STAR Council Steering Committees and open Board of Director positions! Ballots will close on May 26th at 5pm CDT. All current members in good standing may use the links above to vote.

    Election results will be announced at the STAR Annual Members Meeting, held virtually on Thursday, May 27th at 10am. STAR Executive Director Brittany Rosenberg will also give a 2021 State of the Alliance at this meeting. Only current STAR members and incoming members of the NTCRA in good standing may attend. Verify your STAR membership status by logging into our website HERE (incoming NTCRA members not included).

    Thank you for your support and participation in these important annual elections. We look forward to working with you in the coming year to further our mission of advancing recycling through partnerships, education, and advocacy for the benefit of Texas.




  • Thu, May 06, 2021 12:33 PM | Tamara Kowalski (Administrator)

    Texas Recycling Summit 2021
    Call for Proposals

    STAR'S ANNUAL TEXAS RECYCLING SUMMIT WILL BE A MULTI-DAY hybrid CONFERENCE OCT 5–8, 2021

    Submit Your Speaker Proposals Here

    NEW DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSIONS: JUNE 15, 2021

    STAR is excited to announce that we will be hosting the 2021 Texas Recycling Summit on October 5th–8th! Summit 2021 will be a hybrid event with speakers and sessions held virtually during the first two days, with a limited number of in-person events on the last 2 days—at the beautiful Lake Granbury Conference Center in Granbury, Texas! In-person events include the Texas Environmental Leadership Awards, a live auction, and networking and games. (More details coming soon!)

    We are seeking speakers, presenters, panelists, and workshop leaders for new topic proposals, as well as experts on the topics listed below. We invite you to submit a proposal through the link above if you are:

    1. Interested in speaking, presenting, or being on a panel; or 
    2. If you are a STAR member, affiliate, stakeholder, or former Summit attendee and would like to submit a session topic request.

    Summit has been Texas's premier recycling conference for more than 20 years and we're excited to once again feature engaging sessions on relevant and timely topics. We anticipate this year's Texas Recycling Summit to attract more than 300 recycling professionals from municipalities, local and state government, private industry, higher education, and NGOs/trade associations.

    We are seeking experts on the following topics:

    • Recycling Market Development
    • Recycling and Solid Waste Legislation
    • Entrepreneurship, Technology & Innovation
    • Regional Economic Development, Circular Economy Development, & Job Creation
    • Public & Private Partnership Success Stories
    • Industrial Recycling, Reuse, and Redevelopment (ex: Rockets, Anaerobic Digestion, Brownfields, etc.)
    • Byproducts as Feedstocks
    • New or Niche Material Markets (ex: Fiberglass, Fabrics, Batteries, etc.)
    • Public Education Success Stories
    • How to start a ....Program (workshops)
    • COVID-19 and Pandemic-related Updates
    Please contact us at info@recyclingstar.org with any questions.

    Thank you for your proposals. We look forward to making this the best Summit yet!

  • Thu, April 22, 2021 1:25 PM | Tamara Kowalski (Administrator)


    On April 13th, the STAR Business Council advanced letters to Texas Governor Greg Abbott and each member of the 87th Texas Legislature expressing continued support for the creation of the Recycling Market Development Plan (RMDP). The letter addresses the importance of recycling to the Texas economy and encourages support and action on the Plan’s recommendations when released in September 2021. (See more about the RMDP on our website here.)

    The letter also points to the recycling industry's more than $3 billion dollars in economic impact for Texas and the potential for exponential growth under the Plan. A one-pager attached to the letter shared some important industry facts and figures, and the benefits and opportunities provided by the RMDP (accessible here). The letter's intention was to remind the Governor and legislators that the RMDP will be released in September and to look forward to those results.

    The goal of the RMDP is to examine the current recycling economy in Texas, discover opportunities for growth, and draft a proposal for action. It also includes the creation of a comprehensive educational campaign to cover the economics of recycling in Texas, highlight businesses that are involved in recycling in Texas, and to reduce contamination. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) retained Burns & McDonnell to complete the project, and STAR is working with them to complete these goals. 

    See the full letter to the Governor below or as pdf here.

    Dear Governor Abbott:

    RE: Recycling Market Development Plan

    The State of Texas Alliance for Recycling (STAR) thanks you for your continued support of the creation of the Recycling Market Development Plan, which passed in the 86th Legislative Session, and which is due for release in Q3 of 2021.

    STAR members and stakeholders look forward to continued collaboration with the State and are optimistic that the upcoming recycling plan will identify growth opportunities for both business and industry that could result in more jobs, new technology, infrastructure, manufacturing, and investment for Texas.

    Some of these opportunities will require future legislative action and STAR hopes we can count on your support of those efforts in the 88th Legislative Session, for an industry that has demonstrated over $3 billion dollars in economic impact for Texas.

    Please see the attached brief which demonstrates enthusiastic participation from both the private and public sectors and offers valuable insight into the solutions for the challenges facing the recycling industry of Texas.

    We look forward to working with you, if we may be of any assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us.

    Respectfully,

    Gigi Gephardt
    Chair | STAR Business Council

    Brittany Rosenberg
    Executive Director | STAR

  • Wed, April 14, 2021 2:10 PM | Tamara Kowalski (Administrator)

    Customers can donate to EarthShare of Texas in-store and online in honor of Earth Month starting April 14th!

    EarthShare of Texas Press Release:

    Austin, TX – Texans can participate in Earth Month by donating to EarthShare of Texas when they shop at H-E-B and Central Market April 14 through May 25. Donations will support EarthShare of Texas’ network of 38 Texas-based environmental and conservation charities.

    H-E-B and Central Market stores across the state of Texas will participate in the campaign for the environment in honor of Earth Month. Shoppers will have the opportunity to add $1, $3, and $5 donations to their order at checkout when they shop in stores. The option is also available online and in the H-E-B app when using H-E-B Curbside and Home Delivery.

    H-E-B has been a consistent partner of EarthShare of Texas since 2007. The annual fundraising campaign has contributed nearly $1.5 million dollars directly to Texas-based environmental and conservation charities. H-E-B proved their commitment to a greener Texas last year when during the early months of the pandemic, they suspended the campaign and instead donated $190,000.

    Francoise Van Keuren, Executive Director of EarthShare of Texas commented, “We are so proud to be a partner of Texas’ favorite grocery store. This campaign represents Texans taking care of Texas and that’s truly in the spirit of Earth Month and H-E-B’s corporate values.

    Richard McDonald, Director of H-E-B Environmental Affairs added “At H-E-B, we love Texas – and we feel it’s our responsibility to take good care of the state we proudly call home.  It’s the neighborly and right thing to do!

    While Earth Month is celebrated throughout the entirety of April, the campaign will begin in time for Earth Day, April 22. Earth Day was first celebrated on April 22, 1970 as the beginning of the modern environmental movement in response to the public consciousness of air and water pollution and continues to grow as a world-wide day of commemoration for environmental causes.

    See the full press release on ESTX's website

  • Mon, April 05, 2021 3:15 PM | Tamara Kowalski (Administrator)


    Winners of Austin's 2021 [Re]Verse Pitch Competition Announced

    (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.

  • Thu, March 18, 2021 3:21 PM | Tamara Kowalski (Administrator)


    Recycling Partnership Launches Communities for Recycling Pilot Program in Fort Worth

    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.

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