Reducing Waste Protects Our Environment

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. The 3 Rs of solid waste management are important to extend the life of landfills and to protect our waterways. Learn how you can cut down on several types of waste.

Food Waste

November 16 is National Fast Food Day. Did you know that more than 50% of all Americans ate fast food at least 10 times in the past 30 days? While you enjoy your burger or chicken nuggets, be mindful of the waste generated by restaurants–around 25,000 to 75,000 lbs. annually for an average eatery. Fast food and its packaging requires a significant amount of water to produce.

All of these wrappers, cups, straws and napkins add up to a lot of trash, but not nearly as much as the food that is wasted. Remember this on Clean Your Refrigerator Day coming up on Nov. 15. Nearly 40% of all food produced in the United States is wasted and organic waste is the second largest contributor to the country’s landfills. In fact, the federal government has established a national goal to cut food waste by 50% by 2030.

Easy ways to reduce food waste and packaging:

  • Cook more at home instead of eating out. Making your own meals produces less trash and food waste, uses less water, and saves money. Leftovers can be stored in washable/reusable food containers.
  • Use washable or reusable food containers. Avoid plastic baggies. Resist the temptation to toss those “throwaway” plastic containers – most of them are microwave and dishwasher safe.
  • Make your own compost. Compost fruits, vegetable, coffee grounds, and eggshells in a compost pile or bin to create a nutrient rich soil application for your lawn and garden. Check out this video or this brochure from Texas A&M AgriLife for composting tips. You can also purchase compost from our partners at Texas Pure Products.
  • Don’t buy more produce than you need. Nearly half of all produce bought is wasted and ends up in the trash. Buy only what you can realistically eat within a week.

Electronic Waste

About 400 million electronic units like phones and computers are thrown away in America each year. Just in Texas, more than 42,000 tons of electronic waste was reported in 2015 by the Texas Commission for Environmental Quality.  In the spirit of #TexasRecyclesDay this Nov. 11 and #AmericaRecyclesDay on Nov. 15, we urge you help protect your water and environment by taking old electronics to a designated drop-off site. Before throwing away your old electronics, check with your municipal solid waste disposal service or recycling center and find out how to dispose of them properly. Some big box electronic retailers also offer recycling in their stores.

Many of our Member and Customer Cities are hosting recycling events. For example, Mesquite residents can take part in Mesquite Recycles Day by recycling electronics and other unwanted household items on Nov.  11 at Poteet High School. The City of Plano is also collecting materials on Texas Recycling Day. Check with your city’s solid waste department to find out what events will be hosted in your area. Let this be the year you commit to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle the waste you and your family produce.


Municipal Solid Waste in Texas: A Year in Review, FY 2016 Data Summary and Analysis (TCEQ)

Study on the Economic Impact of Recycling, Final Report July 2017 (TCEQ)