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Texas Environmental Excellence Awards honors Keep Texas Recycling for rural recycling program

Friday, Sept. 10, 2021 - Applications for TEEA 2022 due Sept. 24
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ContactTiffany Young
Phone512-239-5000
After Hrs512-239-5000

AUSTIN—The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is celebrating its 2020 Texas Environmental Excellence Awards Civic/Community Winner, Keep Texas Recycling (KTR), a Keep Texas Beautiful program, for its rural recycling cooperative and programming.

The civic community award honors community partner projects that work together to support environmental sustainability. The celebration comes a year late, as the awards ceremony was cancelled amidst the pandemic.

KTR, formerly an independent nonprofit known as Cooperative Teamwork & Recycling Assistance, has been helping underserved rural communities establish, maintain, or improve recycling as an economically viable option for the past 27 years. KTR addresses the recycling needs of over 500 entities covering an area of 43,000 square miles. KTR negotiates for its members, obtaining more affordable recycling options in communities that would likely pay more if they were to contract haulers solo.

“KTR has helped us completely revamp our program. With their assistance we were able to acquire more efficient equipment and start moving our material to market in truckload quantities. Bandera County truly appreciates Keep Texas Recycling,” said Bandera County Commissioner Precinct 4 Jordan Rutherford.

The program has also forged unique partnerships with national organizations to provide support and education on how to keep hazardous or hard-to-recycle items out of the landfill. In the past, KTR partnered with Call2Recycle to assist communities in setting up recycling programs for rechargeable batteries. KTR also worked with the Carton Council to pilot a program to improve carton recycling in rural communities.

An example of keeping hazardous materials from landfills includes a project KTR led as a Product Stewardship Institute Rural Fellow that introduced and educated members on take-back programs for mercury thermostats, mercury auto-switches, cell phones, fluorescent light bulbs, tires and electronics. For the project, KTR chose ten locations to educate residents and businesses through public service announcements, collection events, and the establishment of collection sites. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, mercury is a neurotoxin that can harm the brain, heart, kidneys, lungs, and immune system of people of all ages.

“Keep Texas Recycling has played an instrumental role in the City of Uvalde’s recycling program for approximately 25 years.  KTR has provided assistance with obtaining funding for various recycling equipment, promotional and educational items,” said Public Works Director Juan Zamora. “We’re fortunate to have KTR at our disposal to provide direction with any aspect concerning the recycling program.”

To hear about how Keep Texas Recycling is helping rural communities, watch this videoExit the TCEQ.

About the Texas Environmental Excellence Awards
The Texas Environmental Excellence Awards is an annual awards program that honors achievements in environmental preservation and protection with ten award categories that provide citizens, communities, businesses, and organizations an opportunity to obtain the state’s highest environmental honor and be recognized for their environmental projects.

Since 1993, TCEQ has honored more than 250 successful environmental projects and efforts. By honoring these winners, the TCEQ hopes to encourage others to initiate like-minded projects and reinforce a spirit of environmental stewardship.

TCEQ is now accepting applications for TEEA. To apply, please visit the How to Apply page for details on the application process. Applications are due by Friday, Sept. 24.