Guest Post – from Texas Campaign For the Environment
This guest editorial was written by Andrew Dobbs, Central Texas Program Director and Legislative Director of Texas Campaign for the Environment
A lot goes into Austin’s identity as a “green” city. Two of the most important – our beloved parks system, and our bold commitment to Zero Waste. Unfortunately, right now these two pillars of our local environmental vision are not connecting, and Texas Campaign for the Environment is asking for your help in fixing this.
Of the 300+ parks facilities in Austin, as many as 293 have no recycling whatsoever. Most of our pools, almost all of our athletic fields, and many others have only trash cans. Valuable recyclables are getting buried in area landfills and dumped on vulnerable Austin neighborhoods.
The worst part is the message this sends. It says that recycling isn’t that important; it isn’t a priority.
This is absolutely unacceptable. Recycling is a basic, necessary service, and we need to have it available at home, work, and play. That’s why we are demanding recycling in ALL parks NOW.
You can take action here to send a message to Mayor Steve Adler, City Manager Spencer Cronk and your city council member–the form will match you automatically. Please take a moment to send this message right now.
Already every commercial property in Austin–including multifamily housing– is required to follow the Universal Recycling Ordinance, which requires them to provide recycling to their tenants. It’s been a big success, but believe it or not, if the ordinance applied to city operations the city would be in violation.
Demanding something of businesses and residents and then failing to do it yourself is wrong. The City needs to stop lagging behind everyone else in Austin, which is why we are taking action on this issue during this year’s budget process.
The good news is that the Parks and Recreation Department wants to meet this goal, and has already put recycling in a number of pools and in some of Austin’s biggest parks. They are also asking for $250,000 in the budget to expand this effort further, but If this money isn’t spent wisely it won’t accomplish the goal.
On June 14th, the City Council will vote on a resolution to create a short-term task force to identify the most cost-effective ways to reach this goal. We need you to take action right now so they will pass this resolution, listen to the task force, and spend this money on this important priority.
One thing we need to explore closely – bringing in outside funds to support parks recycling. Could private businesses sponsor some recycling? Could nonprofits or civic groups “adopt” parks for this purpose? Why not give Austin’s generosity a chance to help? In our experience, that’s a winning strategy that could save money while ensuring we aren’t denying anybody necessary services.
When Austin passed its Zero Waste plan years ago, the city government promised that they would lead by example. It’s not too late for them to turn around and meet that commitment; we need to them to step up now. Your voice will make a huge difference in pushing them to do the right thing. Please speak up today!
Please note – editorials and sponsored posts are written by guest writers to inform and educate the community on a variety of different viewpoints, as well as to share information about local eco-friendly businesses and organizations. However, they do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Austin EcoNetwork.