Share Your Story

Texas is a big and beautiful state and it's important we protect and conserve its natural resources for future generations. Across the state, Texans are finding fun, creative ways to do their part, and they're garnering impressive results. The following are excerpts of the most innovative, successful ideas submitted.

We invite you to share your story on the ways you Take Care Of Texas. Bragging is encouraged and now you can show us by uploading a picture.

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Share Your Story

Abbey F. from San Antonio

I reuse black nursery trays and pots for plant divisions and seedlings that I pass on to neighbors or trade at an annual plant swap. If I get too many containers to use myself, I take them to Lowes for recycling. You can give the black plastic containers to any employee in their garden center and they give it to a vendor to sterilize and reuse or recycle at the end of the pot’s useful life. I’m so glad this program exists because the black plastic is not accepted in my city’s curbside recycling.

Cynthia B. from Fort Worth

At my home:
We support buying items at local farmer’s markets & use our own bags or bottles & jars for items we purchase to cut back on plastic bags or styrofoam or other packaging that doesn’t easily decompose.
Plastic bags that do arrive in our house are repurposed in various ways such as trash can liners in our bathroom trash cans then are re-used for that several times until they get yucky. Any type of plastic bag that does leave our house is knotted to prevent them from entangling wildlife & lessen the chance of the bag becoming airborne if it is windy & they somehow get loose as the garbage is picked up by our city refuse service.
Old cooking oil is used as lubricant for gardening tools, squeaky doors, or even as moisturizer for dry hands, elbows & feet.
Plant based food scraps are composted.
Egg shell halves, cardboard egg cartons & paper tubes are used as seedling starters for the garden.
Non-glossy Paper is shredded & composted or used in crafts.
All other cardboard & glossy paper advertisements are either used in crafting projects or placed in the city bin for weekly recycling.
Plastics & glass items are crafted or repurposed as much as possible, donated for crafting, or are placed in the city recycling bins.
Clothing is donated, swapped, resold, or repurposed & used for crafts or even as cleaning rags.
Electronics are resold, swapped, or donated to charity.
Many organizations & churches use items for craft activities so we regularly supply them with recyclable items for this purpose.
We don’t have a dryer, but rather hang everything outdoors to dry on a clothes line.
Use caught rainwater to supplement watering the garden & do not use chemicals to rid the garden of pests.
Wash dishes by hand in a sink full of soapy water & one of clean water to rinse.
We use LED or low energy bulbs & turn off lights when not in a room & also use natural daylight for illumination when available rather than artificial lighting.
We do not use a central heating or cooling system but rather have window units & heating towers & zone our rooms, closing off unused rooms so they are not heated or cooled until actually being used.
We do not run the water when brushing our teeth.

Daniel X. from Allen

Our family has always been big on recycling. Whenever we take out the trash, often times our recycling bin is as full as our trash bin. Filled multiple times a week with paper products, plastic bottles, cardboard, bulbs, and batteries, I believe my family does a pretty decent job of recycling. I believe being a good steward of the environment is man's duty and everyone should try to protect the earth whenever and however they can. Together, we can make the earth a greener place by recycling.

Elizabeth C from Copperas Cove

Our 14 year old daughter has inspired us to recycle and compost in our home. She has dedicated this next year to teaching youth how to and the importance of recycling and composting in our community as part of her title as Young Miss Copperas Cove Five Hills. She is persistent on encouraging others to recycle, use reusable products, compost, and take care of their community/state. Our city has a curbside recycling program in which we participate bi weekly by putting our full recycle bin at the curb. We are part of a compost program in which we fill a compost bin and it is picked up weekly and brought to a local farm to help grow crops, feed animals, etc. Our family feels it is important to help in this way in order to maintain a beautiful environment for the future generations. As a family we participate in local trash cleanups around our area. We would like to spread this important message across the state and encourage others to recycle and compost.

Susan H from Fort Worth

I keep leaky faucets repaired.
Use low watt light bulbs when I can. When walking on Texas beaches I pick up trash left by others on the waters edge to keep it away from the birds and from being washed into the ocean.

Angie W from Missouri City

How does my family NOT take care of Texas!? We can always do better, but I am pretty proud of these facts:
- We have a rain barrel that we use to collect water to water our veggie garden and other backyard plants.
- We compost with a bin outside, and worms inside.
- We recycle religiously - even our two and four year old daughters know what to do!
- We pick up litter along the trail behind our house regularly - with the kids when possible.
- We have been in leadership positions for our local Trash Off event for years.
- We don't leave water running or lights on unnecessarily.
- We use reusable bags to go grocery shopping.
Hey, we're not perfect, but every little bit helps!

We're trying to not only take care of Texas, but also Mother Earth!

Erin F from Lucas

After months of the Lucas recycling pick-up being cancelled and multiple city council meetings, the program has been reinstated effective the second week of April. Despite the temporary lack of convenience regarding recycling, my family, and others, deposited recyclables directly to the recycling fill every other weekend. The community's commitment caused a visible change with the reinstitution of an important aspect of helping preserve the environment's vitality one plastic container at a time.

Marjorie C from Dallas

I started recycling when The City of Dallas started. I recycle both at home and work, I turn off the lights, take short showers, I have several compost piles, use native plants, have a radiant barrier, solar attic fan and I FOAMED my walls which has a fire protection with in the foam, at work I recycle as much cardboard, shrink wrap, shrink wrap cord rolls, wood, and all types of hard plastic as well as scrap metal and paper as well as electronics which I turn over to our IT guy, we have plastic bags that are used to protect product when being transported. In other words I am the queen of recycling at work.

O from Waxahachie

To help keep Texas clean:
I recycle paper/cardboard.
I recycle all plastic,glass,styrofoam.
I recycle all metal, batteries, aluminum, including old appliances.
I try and reuse repurpose what I can. I burn what I can keep out of dump.
I know there is more I can do and working on it.
I truly believe we can do so much better. Can't be lazy. Takes a little bit of effort and time. To me, it's worth it to keep our waters clean our dumps less full.

Michaela D from Waco

I've been trying to donate or recycle everything I possibly can this past year.
I keep old shoes out of landfills by donating them to Soles4Souls.
I keep fabric out of landfills by shipping it to Houston's American Textile Recycling Service.
I keep old home decor out of landfills by donating it to Habitat For Humanity.
I keep medications out of our water and landfills by waiting for Take Back Day.
I keep old stuffed animals out of landfills by donating them to Gleaning For The World.
I keep dvds, cds, and books out of landfills by donating to the local library.
I keep old medical equipment and medical electronics out of landfills by donating it to Project C.U.R.E.
I recycle aluminum cans at Waco's M. Lipsitz & Co.
I have started composting my scraps.
I have donated old wigs to Houston's Tiffani Chanel Luxury Hair for cancer patients.
I have donated old but wearable clothing to the needy in person when possible, or Goodwill when all other options have been exhausted. I've also donated old kitchenware and dishes to Goodwill.
I always put my junk mail in the recycle boxes at the post office.
I randomly throw wildflower seeds around my apartment complex and cemeteries. I refuse to use harsh chemicals to clean with. I feed birds from my patio, and hang up a hummingbird feeder at the appropriate times.
I paid for the two stray cats that live at my apartment complex to be spayed/neutered. I feed them and provided a cat house as well.
I'm always on the lookout for new ways to use my old items or repurpose them.
Doing this makes me feel so wonderful, I'll never stop! It's not always convenient, but knowing that you are helping people in need and our earth makes it all worth it!

Calshondra W from Grand Prairie

Me and my family recycle and conserve whenever possible. The lights are turned off when not in use and the thermostat is set at least 70 degrees.
Older working electronics are donated and I purchase refurbished items when I can.
My family loves to fish, camp, and go to the park. We always pick up our litter and others as well.
When shopping I always use recyclable bags.
I carpool or walk when I can to reduce gas.
When weather permits I hang my clothes out on the line to dry. Also, we donate our clothes to the local shelter.
We check out books from the library or purchase them used.
My family take showers instead of baths.
I donate non-perishable foods to my community food pantry.

JJ T from Kempner

We took an old worn down shed, old shipping pallets, and old building materials that probably could have all been trashed and instead built a chicken coop out of it all! We even used old materials for the nesting areas inside and now we’re getting at least 6-7 eggs a day!

Quitman High School Student Council from Quitman

Our student council places a decorated box in each teacher's class room and every 6 weeks we collect all the paper recycling and take it to the recycle center in town.

Sherril T from San Antonio

Our family is very committed to recycling. I keep a container for storing plastic bags both upatairs and downstairs. We save up dead batteries to be disposed of properly instead of just throwing them in the trash. We also participate in proper disposal of old medications.

Kathy T from Mckinney

Last year I planted a butterfly and bee garden to help our pollinators. I also planted milkweed for the Monarchs. Last fall they came in droves, it was awsome! I am hoping for more success this year.

Marianne A from Cedar Creek

As a Librarian I open the doors to knowledge to help kids be inspired, discover new things and make new connections. This year I have incorporated creation stations in the library, allowing kids to build, design, be creative and have fun. Teachers bring me all kinds of materials, coffee cans, paper towel rolls, fruit snack boxes, straws, cups and so much more. Students can reuse these materials in creative ways. During the Winter Olympics, students used aluminum foil, popsicle sticks, cardboard and toilet paper rolls to make a downhill skier. The recycled materials bring joy and fun to the library and show kids how they can reuse materials from around their home.

Mary D from Hempstead

We recycle plastic, tin & bi metal, aluminum, glass, paper and cardboard. I give all my aluminum to my neighbor who turns it in for money. I take my other items to the recycle center. I used to put all my paper in the paper retriever at the school but the company said our town was too far out to make the drive. That was sad because our high school band was the receipient of those funds. I recycle animal feed bags into totes to carry the recycling. I even end up giving my totes away because people really like them. But no worries. Friends are always giving me empty feed bags!!

Christe H from Waco

Our K-4 students take donations of broken toys, printers, computer CPU's, cables, headphones, and random electronics; anything that once worked using electricity or batteries. (No TVs) We learn tool safety then take them apart in teams finding out how they worked and the components it takes for them to work. We gather the parts and turn them into something completely NEW. These parts are used over and over again. Invention!

Ursula W from Denton

I hang a reusable shopping bag on the back of my laundry room door and all household recycables (old mail, papers, magazines, cartons, plastic and glass bottles, etc.) go in there after they've been washed. Once that bag is full, I empty it into the city-issued recycle bin that I put on the curb for pickup every Thursday morning.

I also make it a point to recycle unwanted clothing, either by donating it to the local Goodwill or thrift stores that support charities in my area. In addition, any household chemicals that I no longer need are sent to the city for reuse, which in turn get sent to the local ReUse Store where they available for free to local residents.

Laura W from Fort Worth

We recycle all of our plastic containers, glass containers, aluminum (which you can get PAID for!), and paper. Our plastic bags, when we get them, are taken back to the store for recycling (Walmart takes all brands of bags). We pick up litter at parks and recycle those items, as well. We're not perfect, but we try our best to make the world better.

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