Zero Waste is a strategy that includes market-based and policy objectives that aim to reduce wasted materials in our economy. In practice, Zero Waste plans take a holistic approach—minimizing inefficiencies in every step along the commodity chain—to reduce landfilling and incineration by up to 95%.
You can read more about Zero Waste here.
According to regional research, the DFW area recycles about 22% of the materials we use. This is significantly less than the national average of about 34%. While there are clearly many opportunities to increase regional recycling, we recognize the dedicated advocacy and hard-fought victories that have brought us this far.
The Cities of Dallas and Arlington only started offering curbside recycling after tens of thousands of petitions were gathered by committed residents and community organizers. We will need sustained pressure on local officials throughout the Metroplex in order to reduce our environmental impact and keep up to 95% of valuable materials out of the dump!
Multi-family buildings are home to a majority of DFW residents—and in most cities, it’s currently up to each apartment building owner or condominium association to decide whether to provide recycling access for residents and tenants.
The majority of wasted resources that end up in local landfills come from commercial, multi-family, and construction and demolition sources. Therefore, cities should work to implement policies and programs that provide recycling to everyone, no matter where they live, work or play.
Some Texas cities such as San Antonio, San Marcos and Austin have already adopted commercial recycling policies. Here in North Texas, Fort Worth, Euless, Allen, Lewisville, Little Elm and Cedar Hill have started comprehensive multi-family recycling programs through franchise agreements. We can learn from these examples to implement comprehensive recycling in other cities.
Through grassroots organizing, advocacy, and public opinion and policy research the DFW Zero Waste Alliance is working to create a more circular economy for North Texas. You can join our efforts here!