Green Before Green Was Cool

26 Nov 2013 - No Comments

Baled, sorted plastics at the TDS recycling facility

I’m a big believer in reuse, reduce, recycle. I take full advantage of Austin’s single-stream recycling program, I have a backyard compost pile and I’ve kept reusable grocery bags in my car for years.

So when I had the chance to work with Texas Disposal Systems on their new website (coming soon), I was thrilled to learn that this family-owned company really walks the walk when it comes to being green.

TDS marketing director Jennifer Gregory gave me a tour of the company’s Creedmoor headquarters and landfill, and it was truly fascinating.

Some highlights of my tour:

  • The state-of-the-art Manufacturing Recycling Facility, where TDS processes more than 10,000 tons of single-stream (unseparated) recycled materials each month.
  • The exotic game preserve on their property with more than 2,000 animals, and a full-service events pavilion that local nonprofits can use free of charge to host big fundraisers. They’ve helped community organizations raise more than $20 million.
  • An onsite tree farm where they cultivate up to 40,000 trees, shrubs and grasses to offset the carbon footprint of their fleet of trucks.
  • A resale center at the entrance of the landfill, where staff members sort through loads and divert usable items into an onsite shop. In our quick drive-by I saw golf clubs, lockers, toys, furniture, appliances, and a cute blue table I would have snagged if I’d had time. I definitely want to go browse soon, as the resale center is open from Monday to Saturday, 8 am to 6 pm.
  • An incredible 30-acre composting operation, where they receive food waste from schools and restaurants, brush and yard trimmings from landscape operations, past-date beer and milk, and much more. TDS sells processed compost and landscape soils and mulch through its subsidiary Garden-Ville.
  • The “working face” of the landfill itself, which the general public doesn’t see, was a well-oiled machine of efficiency and tidiness, despite the fact that it processes up to 3,000 tons of solid waste per day. In fact, it was named “the best landfill in North America” by the Solid Waste Association of North America.
  • The resident artist, Chris Anderson, and the warehouse where he turns scrap metal diverted from the landfill into huge andamazing works of art. What better way to demonstrate the potential of “trash?”

Sculpture of reclaimed metal in progress, by TDS’ resident artist

There are so many other things TDS does, like working with huge events to make them more green, helping green builders and developers divert more waste from the landfill, supporting community groups and their employees, so dig into their new website (coming soon) to learn more.

It’s not often that I get to talk trash about a project! I’m proud to have helped TDS demonstrate that hard work, innovation and a commitment to the environment and community make a really good story.