As we settle back into our work routines and recover from the holidays, we would like to take a brief look back at our accomplishments of 2016– to show where we’ve been and how we’ve worked toward our mission of increasing recycling rates in Texas. Take a look at some of the highlights of 2016, and we hope you will join us in supporting recycling in Texas in 2017.
- Successful 2016 Texas Recycling Summit
- TCEQ Study on the Economic Impacts of Recycling
- Texas Package Recycling Forum Industry Collaboration
- Master Composters Give Back to the Community
- Carton Council Education and Outreach Work
- Professional Development Through Our Webinar Series
- STAR Rolls Out New Strategic Plan
- NRC Honors STAR with National Award
- A Big Year for Mission Sponsors
- Council Highlights– San Antonio, North Texas, Central Texas, TCC, and TcPSC
- Where We’ve Been– Snapshots from 2016
- Thank You!
Texas Recycling Summit
After taking a year off of hosting a statewide recycling conference, we were proud to put on one heck of a show in 2016! The STAR staff and Board of Directors would like to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who helped make Summit possible this year. We were thrilled to be in San Antonio for the event, showcasing awesome 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 else who attended!
Throughout Summit, we had around 215 people in and out of conference sessions and events. The Texas Recycling Summit is our biggest fundraiser, and this past year reminded us that meetings are important, and that the Summit provides value back to STAR members and supporters. We heard nothing but awesome things about the conference sessions and panels and we are so excited to get started on this year’s Summit so that we can continue to bring you the top-notch education and networking that you rely on as a busy recycling professional. We hope you will join us in Austin from October 22-25 for the 2017 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 seven organizations, communities, and individuals were honored for their outstanding commitments to recycling and sustainability. View a list of all the winners and honorable mentioned here.
The Study on the Economic Impacts of Recycling
In 2016, STAR partnered with Burns & McDonnell and TCEQ to conduct a study on the current economic impacts of the Texas recycling industry processing and manufacturing materials from municipal solid waste (MSW) streams. The Study on the Economic Impacts of Recycling was the result of a bill introduced by Rep. Ed Thompson (R-Pearland) and Sen. Jose Rodriguez (D-El Paso) passed in the 84th Texas Legislative Session (House Bill 2763), which requires the development of the Study.
The Study will build on the efforts of prior recycling studies, such as the Texas Recycling Data Initiative (TRDI), and will report on the amount of MSW recycled in Texas, but it will also include more robust economic information about the recycling industry in Texas. The survey went live August 15th and closed on October 31st, focusing on data from processors and end users of recyclables. The Study seeks to not only assess current recycling efforts, but it will also identify methods to increase recycling, as well as funding methods to increase recycling and associated job creation and infrastructure needs that will result from a more robust materials recovery industry in Texas. The results of the Study will be included in the TCEQ report, “Municipal Solid Waste in Texas: A Year in Review, 2016 Data Summary and Analysis”. Thank you to all the STAR members who participated in this Study, and we are excited to continue working on it during the first part of 2017.
Texas Package Recycling Forum
In 2015, STAR partnered with EPA Region 6 to hold a statewide summit to explore some of the biggest issues facing municipalities, recycling processors, and manufacturers with regards to complex package recycling. The workshop included a discussion to identify points of interest and relevant issues and topics in handling and marketing these complex materials. From this, three work groups were formed in order to focus on certain issues, including end markets, existing policies in Texas, and education/messaging.
Each work group came up with their own projects, identified the problems, did their research, and established the next steps needed to implement their projects. The results came in late July of 2016, where the groups had the opportunity to show off their hard work and help further initiate a plan to execute them. Some of the work groups continue to meet, and we look forward to seeing what comes of these collaborative projects. Many thanks to the Planning Team members from EPA Region 6, the North Central Texas COG, TCEQ, and Carton Council for their help leading this project throughout 2016! Click here to read our blog post on this project.
In 2016, 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, Coppell, Houston, Plano, San Antonio, and Grand Prairie.
In 2016, STAR wrapped up an education and outreach grant with the Carton Council, an industry trade organization that works to increase the access to carton recycling across North America. In addition to hosting multiple webinars and conference presentations about carton recycling, STAR also published three podcasts (a first for us!) and a blog about how carton recycling works for schools. We have outreach pieces focused on cartons at the curb, cartons at schools, and what happens to cartons when they make it to a paper mill.
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 2016, we were able to host webinars on: “Soil Food Web Through the Eyes of the Scope,” “Planning for a Disaster: Debris Management After a Storm,” “A Brief History of Solid Waste Management in the U.S.,” and “The Ins and Outs of Household Hazardous Waste,” with a total of over 200 people tuning into the four webinars. Check out all of previous and upcoming our webinars here.
STAR Rolls Out New Strategic Plan
In January 2016, we sent out a survey to ask you– STAR members and supporters– about what more you would like to see from STAR over the next few years. The response was astounding and the feedback we received from you all helped the STAR Board of Directors develop a 2016 Strategic Plan, which was presented to members at Summit in October.
The Strategic Plan identifies strategies to guide the work of STAR in support of achieving its mission to increase recycling rates in Texas. STAR’s previous Strategic Plan was created in 2008 and updated in 2012, and the recommendations from 2012 have be largely implemented or addressed. The 2016 Strategic Plan seeks to capture the momentum built by the successful TRDI study and the subsequent work on the 2017 Study on the Economic Impacts of Recycling.
Click here to download a copy of the 2016 Strategic Plan, and thank you to everyone who provided input to and worked on developing this road map for STAR’s future.
NRC Honors STAR with National Award
In 2016, the National Recycling Coalition hosted the Resource Recycling Conference, where they honored and recognized outstanding individuals, programs, and organizations for their achievements in the recycling industry.
This year, STAR was honored to be awarded “Outstanding Recycling Organization,” alongside the Indiana Recycling Coalition. This award recognizes organizations with outstanding growth, programs, and leadership that have made a substantial impact in the recycling industry. We would like to thank the NRC and all of our partners and sponsors for their involvement and support and we look forward to continuing our work to help make a difference in the Texas recycling industry!
This year marks our highest number of Mission Sponsors, with a total of 22 sponsors, eight of which were first time sponsors of STAR. The STAR staff and Board of Directors are thrilled that these companies choose to support the STAR mission of increasing recycling rates in Texas, and we are very appreciative of the financial support that allows STAR to continue working on valuable programs and events in Texas. See a list of current Gold Mission Sponsors at the bottom of this email, and click here for a full list of 2016 Mission Sponsors.
Texas Product Stewardship Council (TxPSC)
This year the STAR TxPSC saw a change in leadership, as Jordan Fengel with the City of Georgetown was elected Chair of the Council. TxPSC hosted two face-to-face meetings, the first in January, where they discussed the need for pharmaceutical take back of expired and unused medications. The second meeting in August had presentations given on influencing decision makers, legislative issues, and building sustainability into design. In 2016, the TxPSC also signed an MOU with the National Stewardship Action Council and will begin working on a campaign to bring refillable single-use one-pound propane cylinders to Texas. Look out for more information on this project in 2017!
Texas Compost Council (TCC)
This year, the STAR TCC hosted the Texas Compost Council Summit and Training, an annual workshop for industrial composters, in Conroe. This event 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. Thanks to all who make this event successful and fun, and be on the lookout for information about the 2017 Summit and Training!
STAR Central Texas
STAR Central Texas hosted some great events this year, kicking off 2016 with the 2nd Annual S.P.A.R.K. Forum in February with keynote speaker Brad Pease of Paladino Company, who spoke about “Influencing Decision Makers” and held an interactive workshop on how to positively influence behaviors towards recycling.
In August, STAR Central Texas hosted a tour of former landfill, Circle Acres, along with Ecology Action whose mission is to bring landfill diversion and zero waste to the Austin area.
The 22nd 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.
STAR Central ended 2016 with a membership meeting and networking event and brewery tour at Hops & Grains Brewery, a local brewery that focuses on reduction of waste, recycling, and reuse. Thanks to all who participated and helped plan these events!
STAR San Antonio
In 2016, STAR was happy to introduce a new Regional Council for members to participate in. STAR San Antonio started meeting monthly in April 2016 to provide networking and information sharing to recyclers in San Antonio and beyond. The group helped spread the word about the Texas Recycling Summit and looks forward to getting more local recyclers involved in 2017.
STAR North Texas
2016 was a busy year for STAR North Texas, with lots of fun networking events and opportunities for learning. In March of 2016, they hosted a STARgazing event to introduce the STAR working groups and councils to new members and potential steering committee members.
STAR North Texas and the North Texas Corporate Recycling Association (NTCRA) hosted the 20th Annual Recyclers Golf Tournament in October as a fun networking event and pre-Summit kick off.
The Construction and Demolition Summit was a successful event in partnership with STAR North Texas, ASA and the North Texas chapter of the USGBC, held in November for construction firms, recyclers, haulers, salvage/reclaimed material dealers, municipalities, sustainability professionals, and all others who are interested in improving rates of waste diversion in C&D. STAR North Texas wrapped up 2016 with their annual membership meeting and holiday luncheon held at Uncle Buck’s in Grapevine.
Where We’ve Been in 2016– A Year in Snapshots
Looking Ahead at 2017
The new year already has so much promise and opportunity for more projects, learning, networking, and of course, recycling! This year, we will complete the Study on the Economic Impacts of Recycling, educate our legislators about the economic benefits of recycling during the 85th Texas Legislative Session, continue to represent the Texas recycling industry at events both regionally and nationally, and work to bring you the best speakers, resources, and networking at the 2017 Texas Recycling Summit in Austin this October.