AUSTIN – Seven organizations, communities and individuals were honored for their outstanding commitments to recycling and sustainability at the State of Texas Alliance for Recycling’s (STAR) annual Texas Environmental Leadership Awards ceremony and reception on November 5th in the Lieutenant Governor’s Reception Room at the Texas State Capitol Building.
A panel of national judges from other state recycling organizations chose from a robust group of nominations for six main leadership awards, six honorable mentions, and STAR also recognized one additional volunteer who have been instrumental in advancing recycling practices in north Texas.
The Linda B. Smith Memorial Award for Outstanding Youth Education and Outreach was awarded to Keep Austin Beautiful and Austin Resource Recovery for their Generation Zero program, a free initiative that engages K-12 students in fun, hands-on activities that raise awareness about recycling, composting, and conservation. The award is named after Linda B. Smith, who showed passion for recycling and environmental leadership in Texas every day with her community, her workplace, and in her home. Fulton 4-5 Learning Center received the honorable mention in this category.
“Our award winners represent innovative programming and successful events that not only help conserve resources but also bring jobs and economic development to Texas,” STAR Executive Director Sara Nichols said. “We are honored to recognize our award winners for all they do to further the STAR mission of increasing recycling rates in Texas, for Texans.” Other award winners include:
UT Southwestern Medical Center and Balcones Resources won the award for ‘Outstanding Recycling Partnership’ for their collaborative efforts to help implement single stream recycling and expand the hospital’s supply donation program. The honorable mention in this category was the City of El Paso and Sageland Elementary
The UT Dallas Facilities Management team received the Rick Fuszek Memorial Award for Outstanding Sustainable Materials Management for its composting efforts and the campus’ ability to save money and resources by abiding to the triple bottom line of sustainability – people, planet, and profit. This award is dedicated to the memory of Rick Fuszek, who was committed to environmental stewardship in Texas and was a true innovator in municipal recycling. The honorable mention for this category was the Town of Little Elm.
The Cis Myers Sustainability Leadership Award, named for a previous Executive Director of STAR who continues to work for sustainability in Texas, was given to Joint Base San Antonio, which has consistently been recognized as having one of the best recycling programs in the Department of Defense. The honorable mention was given to another military facility, Fort Hood Recycle.
The Outstanding Environmental Public Education and Outreach Program Award went to Austin Resource Recovery’s Business Outreach Team, who assists and provides resources to commercials businesses complying with the City’s Zero Waste goal. The City of Sugar Land received the honorable mention in this category.
CompuCycle, an electronics recycler in Houston, was presented with the Outstanding Recycling Special Event Award for their annual Earth Day Electronic Recycling Event, during which they were able to recycle 138,174 pounds of electronics in only 8 hours. The honorable mention in this category went to Keep Murphy Beautiful.
One individual was recognized for her volunteer efforts. Kelly McDonald, who lives in the City of Allen, has a long history of volunteer engagement in North Texas. Most recently, she helped bring carton recycling to an elementary school in Allen by helping to coordinate student leadership and parents to monitor, educate, and assist with carton recycling during lunchtime.
The awards event on November 5th at the Capitol concluded with a networking reception, which was made possible by a donation from one of the award winners, Balcones Resources, who is headquartered in Austin and engaged in the business of commercial and residential recycling.
“We were thrilled to be at the Capitol for this great event, after an exciting legislative session earlier this year,” Nichols said. “Our award winners are proof that recycling is a strong industry that supports job creation and economic growth in Texas, for Texans. We could not be more proud of our 2015 Texas Environmental Leadership Award winners and how they contribute to the STAR mission!”