Archive for the ‘Sustainability’ Category

Recycling in Lubbock

The Texas Tech student-run newspaper is back in the swing of things with the start of the Fall semester, and yesterday’s Daily Toreador featured an excellent article about recycling on the TTU campus. (The Daily Toreador is actually a wonderful paper and often has some great reporting on local issues.) This year, on-site recycling was available to students and their families moving into the dorms. The article points out:

Last fall, thousands of students moved into campus housing and produced almost 50 tons of trash in a single weekend.

This fall, University Student Housing partnered with two local companies to make use of the waste produced by students living on campus.

“About 12 tons of cardboard was hauled off,” said University Student Housing unit manager, Melanie Tatum concerning the waste recycled during move-in weekend.
The cardboard was removed from campus by Green Queens and taken to Hurley Packaging, where it will be made into egg crates.

recycleWay to go, Texas Tech and Green Queens! (One of the Lubbock skirt! bloggers covered Green Queens back in May, actually.) This is the kind of public-private partnership that I want to see more of. Another good example of public-private cooperation for recycling in Lubbock is the recycling drop-off available at some Lubbock United Supermarkets and at Lowe’s on 26th & Boston.

However, as the Green Queens website points out, Lubbock is one of the worst cities when it comes to recycling according to an article in Men’s Health magazine (click on the interactive map link — Lubbock is ranked #96). We should study Texas cities that recycle well, like San Antonio (ranked #3 on the list) which offers curbside recycling pickup. Even with excellent private sector initiatives, it’s up to local government to make recycling ubiquitous and convenient enough that people actually do it.

The DT article also points out that Lubbock is home to the largest landfill in Texas in addition to the City of Lubbock dump. This new, large landfill is supposed to last us 100 years, but may only last 50 if Lubbock continues to throw stuff away at our current rate.

The way I see it, Lubbock has 2 big obstacles when it comes to scaling up our recycling (well, 3 big obstacles if you count the prevailing conservative “wisdom” that keeps city services minimal). 1) We are so spread out that recycling collection takes a lot of time and fuel, and 2) if Lubbock citizens all started recycling, we may not have enough recycling centers to keep up with processing the recyclables.

But, if we’re going to drown in our own filth in 50 to 100 years, I think it’s time we started looking at city-wide recycling solutions more seriously.

The Story of Stuff

The Story of Stuff is the most succinct summary (20 mins) of our complex problem of consumption I have ever encountered. I’m just now discovering it for myself, so I thought I’d share. Over 4 million have already discovered this charming, compelling video narrated by Annie Leonard. Everybody needs to see it. It ought to be shown in schools, even.

A few of the problems addressed in this video include:

  • You cannot run a linear system on a finite planet indefinitely.
  • People are missing from the cookie-cutter explanations of how we get our stuff.
  • Corporations are becoming more powerful than nations.
  • Sustainable communities become slums over time.
  • Externalized costs — both economic costs and human costs — are killing us.

We need sustainability, equity, and a system of production and consumption that doesn’t kill us and our planet. If we focus on the big picture as well as the specific ways we can take action, then we can solve this crisis.

Seriously, if you only watch one video this week, make it The Story of Stuff.

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