Sustainable Waco: 10 Steps to Renew Your Commitment to Recycling
By Anna Dunbar
- Half is better than none.
You may be new to Waco curbside recycling. Start with paper and plastic water, soda, and juice bottles! Once you establish a habit, start adding other recyclables such as shampoo and detergent bottles, flattened cardboard, magazines, and aluminum and tin cans.
- You can recycle glass in Waco.
Glass bottles and jars (as well as other recyclables) can be taken to the Cobbs Citizen Convenience Center (Recycling Center) by anyone, regardless of residency. The center is open on Tuesday – Saturday from 8 AM until 5 PM.
- Look beyond the daily paper.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, paper and cardboard are America’s most recycled materials by weight. The Waco curbside recycling program and Cobbs Recycling Center accept newspaper, corrugated cardboard, cereal and tissue boxes, mail, catalogues, and phone books. The Cobbs Recycling Center accepts those items from anyone, no matter their place of residency.
- Close the Loop
The recycling process doesn’t stop at the Waco blue curbside cart! After materials are processed and back on the shelf as new items, it is up to you to buy recycled products. Look for products and packaging with recycled content to do your part as a recycling-conscious consumer.
- Recycling: it’s not just in the kitchen.
Don’t trash your detergent and shampoo bottles! Take a few extra steps to put your empty bottles in your blue Waco curbside recycling cart pr take them to the Cobbs Recycling Center.
- Know your limits.
Putting materials in your blue recycling cart that aren’t collected from curbside contaminates the recycling process. Items that are common mistakes in curbside recycling carts include Styrofoam, food contaminated cardboard, such as a pizza boxes, chip bags, ziplock bags, juice boxes, and straws. All of those items go into the grey trash cart.
- Answer the call to recycle your wireless phone!
More than 100 million cell phones retire each year to sit in our drawers or closets, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Do you have out-of-use mobile phones in your home? Consider donating them to a local charity or retail outlet that collects cell phones. Before you drop off your old cell phone, make sure that you have terminated your service contract for the phone and erased any data in the phone. Target Greatland has a drop-off box at the door closest to the pharmacy. The Waco Family Abuse Center accepts cell phones at its thrift store, Second Chance. And finally, the Cobbs Recycling Center accepts cell phones from Waco residents only.
- Recycling: don’t exclude your leaves and grass clippings!
Waco residents can request a green (yard waste) cart at no extra charge. The yard waste cart is collected every other week on your trash day. To request a cart go to waco-texas.com or call (254) 299-2612.
- Recycling: don’t exclude your food.
Start composting your food waste at home. If you aren’t quite ready for a compost bin or pile, consider tossing a few biodegradable items into your garden or window boxes instead of the trash. Egg shells and coffee grounds enrich soil and break down easily. Or you can join the “blue bucket brigade” associated with Mission Waco’s Urban Renewable Energy & Agriculture Project. If you would like to donate food waste, mainly plant material, for compost, you can pick up a blue bucket at Mission Waco’s Urban R.E.A.P at 1505 N. 15th Street.
- Spread the word.
Now that you’re an expert recycler, consider hosting an educational recycling event in your neighborhood. Keep Waco Beautiful (KWB) or Waco Solid Waste can help with educational materials and assistance. Contact KWB at (254) 723-5714 or Waco Solid Waste Services at (254) 299-2496.
Still have questions? Contact me at [email protected] or call Waco Solid Waste at (254) 299-2612.
Para informacion en Español: (254) 299-2612
Anna Dunbar is the Environmental Program Manager for the City of Waco Public Works. She is responsible for informing Waco residents and businesses about recycling and waste reduction opportunities as well as solid waste services in Waco. Her husband is a Baylor professor and her daughter is a Baylor University alum who works at Horizon Environmental Services, Inc. Anna is an active member of Keep Waco Beautiful and The Central Texas Audubon Society.
The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email [email protected] for more information.