You Can Recycle That

Recycling your stuff should be easy, but recycling alone won’t solve our waste problems. Our produce it, consume it, toss it out system needs to be redesigned to eliminate waste at its source. For instance, manufacturers need to take more responsibility for the full life cycle of their products. So this “Recycle Anything” guide provides resources for Texans to divert as much as possible from our landfills, with an emphasis on waste prevention and manufacturer-based recycling programs whenever possible. Yes, you should recycle as much as possible, but there’s much more we can do to prevent our trash troubles. So let’s make waste a thing of the past.

Easy stuff
Glass Containers
Yard/organic waste

Hard stuff
Large appliances
Automotive Waste
Construction Waste
Household Chemicals
Other: CFLs, Water Filters, etc.

Why Reduce, Reuse, Recycle?
Landfills in Texas are, literally, a growing problem. The Lone Star State alone has 12 landfills towering above 200 feet tall. And they’re much more than unappealing eyesores: waste and landfills are leading contributors to global climate change, air, soil and water pollution, and unsustainable consumption patterns. To make matters worse, Texas’ environmental standards for landfills are among the weakest in the nation. In addition, many consumer products contain toxic materials and are difficult to recycle, and their producers typically pay none of the high cost this creates. Combine this with heavy tax subsidies for landfill space, and we’re left with a current system in which dumping trash in a landfill is far more profitable than recycling it – up to ten times more profitable, according to industry insiders. This is a huge reason why recycling programs aren’t available in every community, home and business.

We can do better. Trash and landfills aren’t inevitable or necessary: waste is simply a design flaw, one that can and must be solved if we are to create a sustainable future. But we need to think beyond traditional recycling ideals and get to the root of the problem, because recycling alone won’t solve the design flaws that create so much waste in the first place. “Zero Waste” proponents are working to strengthen environmental laws for landfills, to create “producer take-back” programs in which manufacturers are held responsible for recovering and recycling their products, and reminding communities that the best way to eliminate waste is to think reduce/reuse as a first option.

Get Involved!
There are many organizations working in Texas, nationwide and even globally to stop waste at its source and create a more sustainable future. Here are just a few. Join the effort today!

Texas Campaign for the Environment Fund — the author of this webpage, TCE Fund works to promote recycling, waste reduction, sustainable product design and zero waste solutions in Texas.
The Story of Stuff
— an amazing, must-watch internet video that makes consumption and waste easy to understand, and easy to fight.
Texas Product Stewardship Council
— a group of local government officials and community leaders working to make more manufacturers responsible for recycling the products they create.
Central Texas Zero Waste Alliance
— committed to the realization of a sustainable Zero Waste (or darn close) economy in Central Texas before 2040.

19 Responses

  1. GREAT Info !!!!!

  2. Recycling polyurethane foam in Texas (from old cushions, furniture)? How? Where?

  3. Where can I recycle clothes that have rips or stains, so that they are probably no longer wanted to wear, or pieces of cloth?

  4. I need a place where I can take an old computer monitor.

    • The easiest thing for you to do would be to take it to any nearby Goodwill location. Goodwill has a statewide partnership with Dell to recycle any computer equipment for free.

      TCE Staff

  5. I have a rear projection TV, 65 inch, the power unit is unrepairable. It is a MItsubishi. I do not live in any of the cities described on the MRM web site.

    Where can i take this for recycling?

  6. I have (3) 8,000 gallon fiberglass coated steel tanks I need to recycle in the Austin Texas area and I could use some help locatiing a site that will take them.

    • That sounds like something for a scrap metal recycler. If I were you I’d look in the Austin yellow pages or do an online search for scrap metal purchasers. On the bright side, the tanks are probably worth some money.

      TCE Staff

  7. Where can I recycle old hair straightners?They don’t work anymore but i don’t know what to do with them.

  8. I’m looking for a way to recycle used furniture: tables, dressers, nightstands, desk tops – any scrap metal will already be removed.

    • The best option for old furniture is reuse (ReStore – Habitat for Humanity, Goodwill, garage sale, Freecycle, Craigslist). Since scrap metal is removed, is the piece still usable, minus coming up with handles, runners, etc.? If so, then the piece can and should be reused and just needs minor repairs. If not, what kind of materials are we talking about?

      TCE Staff

  9. Hi, can anyone run me through the process of how recycling works in Texas

    • Hi ibby,

      Texas is a very large and like most places in the US recycling varies by municipality. I would need to know where you live so that I could provide you accurate information.

      TCE Staff

  10. I am looking for a recycling center in south Texas for wood construction trash. Found one for masonry, concrete and roof shingles but not for wood. This is from demolition so not for Habitat.

  11. I have hundreds of power supply cables, RCA cables, and a few hdmi cables plus close to 100 Time Warner Cable remote controls (with batteries) to recycle. Do you have any ideas on what my best plan of action would be? The hdmi cables can probably be reused so I can take them to Goodwill electronics but many of the other cables use a metal other than copper and I don’t want a recycler to just burn the plastic insulation off to recycle the metal.

    Thank you

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