OUR COMMUNITY PARTNERS
We have learned alongside our Community Partners as they have faced challenges, overcome barriers, and achieved extraordinary successes. Find out more about each project and the outcomes below.
Ecology Action of Texas
Satellite Center Program
With funds from Impact Austin, Ecology Action will upgrade three existing recycling centers in Cedar Park, Bertram and East Travis County and will also establish 12 new satellite recycling centers.
The service expansion is projected to divert 6,000 tons of recyclables annually from area landfills. The funds will improve the overall aesthetics of the organization’s recycling centers, making them more attractive to users as well as more efficient to operate. Ecology Action accepts more materials than the typical curbside recycling program and provides citizens an additional option to throwing materials in the local landfill. Ecology Action provides the only recycling service to many small Texas Hill County towns.
During the grant period, Ecology Action launched school, youth-based satellite recycling centers at six educational institutions: Austin Discovery Charter School, Zilker Elementary, Bedichek Middle School, Cunningham Elementary, American Youth Works, and Garza High School.
Ecology Action also serviced drop-off recycling centers in collaboration with the municipalities of Point Venture and Pflugerville, at the Barr Mansion (an environmentally-focused events venue), and glass collection at TRI Recycling’s South East Austin facility. Ecology Action was also able to provide recycling services to numerous large events such as Fat Tire’s “Tour de Fat”, ReadyMade Magazine’s Maker Faire, the Capitol 10K, Austin City Limits Auditorium Shores Concerts, and the Pecan Street Festival.
One unanticipated challenge throughout the program was the issue of site retention. At the beginning of 2009, Travis County abruptly closed the recently upgraded Cedar Park and East Command Center transfer station locations due to public funding issues. Bedichek Middle School contracted with a large waste company to manage both their recycling and trash through one comprehensive package and no longer needed Ecology Action’s services. And although it has not entirely closed, the Barr Mansion’s collection capacity had to be significantly downsized after their facility was devastated by a fire in June 2010.
On the other hand, material volumes generated by the City of Point Venture exceeded expectations, requiring two Pro- Tainers to provide sufficient collection capacity. Likewise, the demand for large-event recycling continued to increase, leading to the dedication of one Pro-Tainer for this purpose. With this modified placement strategy, Ecology Action is utilizing all 12 Pro-Tainers and is at full capacity with 10 permanent satellite centers and one “mobile satellite” serving large events.
At the end of the grant period, Ecology Action was operating 10 permanent satellite centers: Cunningham Elementary, Zilker Elementary, Austin Discovery Charter School, Garza High, American Youth Works, Barr Mansion, TRI Recycling, City of Bertram, City of Pflugerville, and City of Point Venture.
As a result of Ecology Action’s Satellite Program, 1,049 tons of material, including cardboard, paper, plastic, aluminum, steel/tin, and glass, were recycled during the grant period.
Ecology Action deserves recognition for successfully riding out the collapse of the recycling market in the fall of 2008 by adapting their strategy and programs and remaining a strong organization to the benefit of Central Texas.