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It's a Green Thing: How You Can Recycle, Renew and Reuse In Your Community

Mar 21, 2016 01:10PM ● Published by Ryan Frisch

More and more cities and communities throughout the country have begun embracing a cleaner and greener approach to living. Whether it’s recycling, reusing or just being smarter with resources, communities are finding ways to unite and rally around causes that conserve and protect the planet and our precious resources. As we look to celebrate Earth Day on April 22, we thought it would be fun to highlight some ways you and your family can get involved and make a difference.

Unfortunately, the earth has been on the receiving end of some abuse over the years. Humans consume a lot of resources. Here’s some sobering figures according to the International Business Times. Between 1905 and 2005, global oil consumption grew eightfold, production of metals increased by 600 percent, and natural resource extraction grew by 50 percent. Today, more than 100 billion pieces of junk mail get delivered in the U.S. alone - that’s about 848 pieces per household. A single U.S. supermarket goes through more than 60 million paper bags on average every year. Fossil fuels are creating more carbon dioxide than ever before in history. The increase in carbon has affected global warming, and in turn, many of our ecosystems.

But there’s hope and there’s still time to make some changes and get this planet back on track again – and you and your family can make a difference right here in your own community. There are numerous “green” strategies you can implement, from planting a tree, to buying local, to going paperless. You can plant a garden, carpool or organize a community cleanup. Every little bit helps and each of us can make a difference. Besides, it will provide a great opportunity for you to spend some time together with your family members. Our cities provide a number of opportunities to help get you started.


Mansfield Green Opportunities

The city of Mansfield is doing its part to keep it green and clean. Back in 1986 the city council created the Keep Mansfield Beautiful Commission, a group designed to “engage, educate and empower community members to take greater responsibility for creating a clean and beautiful city through litter abatement, waste reduction, recycling and community beautification in order to improve the health and prosperity of our community.”

The group’s vision is for Mansfield to be recognized as one of the cleanest, most beautiful cities in Texas. They seek to inspire and educate the community to take greater responsibility toward environmental stewardship. 

Elsewhere around Mansfield there are all kinds of “green initiatives” and opportunities to make a difference. You can find out how to be smarter with water around your home and landscape each Tuesday in March at the Mansfield Service Center. This year’s Smartscape classes topics will include Landscape Design for Water Efficiency; Efficient Irrigation Practices; Fix a Leak: Repairing Household Leaks; Compost for Conservation; and Simple Rain Barrels for Residents. Call 817-728-3612 or email water@mansfieldtexas.gov for more info.

You might also check out the first ever H2Grow Spring Living Festival that will take place Saturday April 23 at Katherine Rose Memorial Park. A “do-it-yourself” stage will explain Best Planting for Mansfield; Residential Landscape Design; an appearance by The Dirt Doctor, Howard Garrett; a session on Fixing Leaks Inside & Out; and one called Composting 101. There will be a farmers market with eco-friendly and recycled products and a rain barrel silent auction. Bring the kids along because they’ll be able to race veggie derby cars, enjoy nature-themed arts and crafts and rock climb. Call 817-473-1943 or visit www.mansfieldtexas.gov.


Arlington Green Efforts

Keep Arlington Beautiful is a group created to nurture and grow an environmentally friendly and vibrant community by “providing residents with ample opportunities for culture, beauty and play.” There are numerous activities and ways to get involved.

For example, on Saturday, April 2, you can attend the Lake Arlington Cleanup Event at Richard Simpson Park. Volunteers will work on improving the appearance of Lake Arlington and increasing public awareness about how litter can affect water quality. Individuals, civic clubs, organizations and student groups are encouraged to register and participate. There’s a free lunch and all volunteers will receive gloves, insect repellant and trash bags provided by the City of Arlington. Contact Samantha Crossnoe at 817-459-5477 or by email at Samantha.Crossnoe@arlingtontx.gov.


Kennedale Turning Green

Meanwhile, over in Kennedale, city leaders are getting into the swing of recycling. Keep Kennedale Beautiful encourages residents and businesses to take responsibility for improving the community’s appearance and environment. They also develop and coordinate beautification-related programming, outreach and events and serve as the Tree Advisory Board and the Tree City USA liaison. 

It’s estimated that 85 percent of all clothing ends up in landfills, with only 15 percent getting recycled or donated. A national program called Simple Recycling is seeking to keep millions of pounds of clothing from going to waste by providing residents a convenient way to recycle items that they might normally throw away.

Kennedale is the first city in Tarrant County to offer Simple Recycling. The curbside collection program for unwanted clothing and home goods has no cost to residents or the city. Participants receive special green Simple Recycling bags by mail. Simply place them curbside, next to recycling and trash bins, and the items will be picked up by a dedicated Simple Recycling truck.

Curious what happens to the donations? Almost half of what is picked up is repurposed for second-hand consumer use, 30 percent is converted into cleaning rags and other textiles and 20 percent is recycled into post-consumer fiber then used in home insulation, carpet padding and the automotive industry. Only about 5 percent ends up as waste.

If you have questions about the program, you can call Simple Recycling at 886-835-5068 or contact Kelly Cooper at kcooper@cityofkennedale.com or 817-985-2104.


Grand Prairie Goes Green

If you live in Grand Prairie there’s plenty of green for you to get involved in too. For example, the city has a Smartie Plants meeting where you can learn how to select and maintain native and adaptive plants in the landscape. The meeting is March 24 at The Summit in Grand Prairie.

Household hazardous Waste Collection Day is April 2. It’s a great opportunity to drop off any household hazardous waste. There is also a free electronics recycling event at the same time and place. For more information visit gptx.org/recycling. That same day, the First Presbyterian Church and Community Garden is hosting a Compost 101 class. If you have questions about composting, this is the place to go. Call 972-237-8152 or visit kgpb@gptx.org.

To celebrate Earth Day, Airbus Helicopters is hosting a Home BOPA Waste Collection event for AHI employees and Grand Prairie residents. You can drop off automotive and household batteries, used oil and air filters, household paint and anti-freeze. Contact Tom Caldwell at tom.caldwell@airbus.com for more information.

As Earth Day approaches, don’t miss your opportunity to do your part, help the planet and take advantage of an opportunity to spend some time with your family taking care of Mother Earth.



Keep Mansfield Beautiful

The Keep Mansfield Beautiful Commission exists to educate and empower community members to take greater responsibility for a clean and beautiful city through litter abatement, waste reduction, recycling and community beautification in order to improve health and prosperity of our community.

Here’s some ways you can get involved.

--Adopt-A-Street

The Adopt-A-Street program is a part of the “No Litter Left Behind” campaign and allows businesses, community service groups or individuals to adopt segments of city roadways for cleaning.  This helps Keep Mansfield Beautiful by removing unsightly litter from our roadways.

--Beautification Day

The Keep Mansfield Beautiful Commission assists in coordinating and participates in several cleanup events throughout the year. 

--Litter Cleanup - Volunteer Opportunities

The Keep Mansfield Beautiful Commission partners with Water Utilities to host litter cleanup events throughout the year.  

Visit https://www.mansfieldtexas.gov/keep-mansfield-beautiful-commission to find out more information about any of the above opportunities.


By Kerry Pipes

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