Posts tagged “Caroline Ask

Are you still not convinced recycling is essential?

By Caroline Ask, Environmental Compliance & Recycling Manager

People typically think of recycling as tossing cardboard boxes or plastic bottles in their blue collection bin and calling it a day. But recycling is much more complicated than that.

Recycling is a critical link in the manufacturing supply chain and a vital component of our economy. The recycling sector has an annual economic impact of $110 billion and directly employs more than 164,000 people while diverting 194.1 billion pounds of materials from landfills.

Are you still not convinced recycling is essential?

According to the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, the U.S. steel industry relies on scrap metal as its largest raw material input. About 70% of steel and stainless steel produced in the U.S. is made from ferrous and stainless scrap supplied by recyclers.

More than 75% of American paper mills depend on recovered fiber from recycling operations for their daily production needs. About 58% of tissue mill feedstock is recovered from recycling.

Before we place aluminum cans in our garbage bin instead of recycling them, we should recognize that more than 50% of our aluminum comes from recycled materials, including the aluminum placed in single-stream containers.

Here’s how you can become a recycling expert instead of a wish-cycler:

  • Research approved, recyclable commodities for your area by consulting and downloading the City of College Station’s Household Waste and Recycling Guide.
  • Remember that quality is just as important as quantity, so make sure the materials you place in your bin are empty, unbagged, and clean.
  • The recycling symbol and resin number do NOT mean the item is always recyclable — it corresponds to the item’s material. Our recycling program only accepts plastics types 1 and 2.

The 2015 Study on the Economic Impacts of Recycling estimated that 43% of the total tons generated and disposed of in Texas could’ve been recycled. Material disposal versus recycling may not be practical due to a lack of recycling infrastructure, contamination, access to end markets, or a need for additional public education and outreach.

Here’s how you can bin less and recycle more:

  • Reduce the amount of non-recyclable materials in our recycling stream by placing only accepted items in your bin.
  • Take your single-use grocery bags to the recycling kiosks at your grocery store.
  • Avoid purchasing items with excessive packaging or purchase items approved in our recycling program.
  • Donate gently used clothing, children’s toys, extra paint, and other reusable commodities to local non-profit organizations.
  • In general, try to limit your consumption of single-use materials.

For more information on your local recycling program or for specific recycling and disposal questions, visit cstx.gov/recycle or call 979-764-3690.

 


About the Blogger 

Carolina Ask is in her third year with the city and her first as the environmental compliance and recycling manager. She previously served as an engineering program specialist and environmental inspector. Caroline previously held environmental health positions at Texas A&M and Houston’s Texas Children’s Hospital. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Bioenvironmental Sciences from A&M in 2012.


 

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Household Hazardous Waste event set for Saturday

By Caroline Ask, Environmental Compliance & Recycling Manager

Area residents are invited to participate in the fall household hazardous waste collection event on Saturday from 7 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the Texas A&M University General Services Building. The entrance to the facility is on Harvey Road east of Veterans Park and Athletic Complex.

The free event is open to Brazos Valley residents and offers safe disposal of a wide range of household hazardous wastes. Improper disposal — such as pouring cleaning agents down a storm inlet, on the ground, or into your recycling or garbage containers — poses severe health and safety risks to not only the environment but to solid waste, wastewater, and other workers.

Accepted items include household quantities of paint, pesticides, herbicides, oil and oil filters, cleaning agents, antifreeze, fluorescent bulbs, and car batteries. Items not accepted are tires, commercial or industrial waste, PCBs, radioactive materials, explosives, household trash, and biological waste.

Please bring your household materials in the original containers with labels intact — and don’t mix products. You should also label materials that aren’t in the original packages and secure products so they won’t tip or leak. Products should be in the trunk or bed of your vehicle, not in the passenger area.

You must stay in your vehicle with the windows rolled-up while staff members unload your items. If you need to communicate with staffers, you must wear a face covering.

Additional event information and a complete list of accepted materials can be found on the Twin Oaks Landfill website.

 


About the Blogger

Carolina Ask is in her third year with the city and her first as the environmental compliance and recycling manager. She previously served as an engineering program specialist and environmental inspector. Caroline previously held environmental health positions at Texas A&M and Houston’s Texas Children’s Hospital. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Bioenvironmental Sciences from A&M in 2012.


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20 ways to celebrate the 50th Earth Day

By Caroline Ask, Environmental Compliance & Recycling Manager

In 1970, 20 million people mobilized to call for greater protections for our planet. The event became the world’s first Earth Day.

Earth Day has since become the largest secular observance in the world. More than 190 countries and a billion people celebrate it as a day to encourage positive changes in behavior that benefit our environment.

Since Wednesday is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, we offer these creative and innovative ways to do your part:

  1. Take a walk to identify native plant species in your area — or simply enjoy your surroundings.
  2. Craft a nature collage from items found on your walk.
  3. Compost your food waste.
  4. Avoid using herbicides or pesticides before rain events.
  5. Clean out your closet, but instead of throwing your old clothes away, donate them.
  6. Check out NASA’s Earth Day 2020: 50th Anniversary Toolkit.
  7. Calculate your carbon footprint.
  8. Research how to start a backyard garden and ways to support helpful insects and pollinators.
  9. When shopping, use reusable bags. However, some retailers are recommending the use of plastic bags until the COVID-19 outbreak subsides.
  10. Identify the types of accepted recyclables in College Station.
  11. Learn how to dispose of household hazardous waste Our next collection event is Oct. 24.
  12. Follow the Brazos Valley WaterSmart network to use efficient watering techniques for your lawn.
  13. Join a virtual Earth Day
  14. Turn off the faucet when brushing your teeth.
  15. Turn off the lights when you leave a room.
  16. Construct a rainwater harvesting barrel for landscape irrigation.
  17. Repurpose jars and other containers as beverage glasses or small bowls.
  18. Serve a fun Earth Day-inspired dessert such as dirt pudding to teach your kids about the importance of soil.
  19. Plant a tree.
  20. Tag us with your Earth Day activities using the hashtag #BVEarthDay2020.

Happy Earth Day!

 


About the Blogger

Carolina Ask is in her third year with the city and her first as the environmental compliance and recycling manager. She previously served as an engineering program specialist and environmental inspector. Caroline previously held environmental health positions at Texas A&M and Houston’s Texas Children’s Hospital. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Bioenvironmental Sciences from A&M in 2012.


 

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Be sure to Scoop the Poop when walking your pet

By Caroline Ask, Environmental Compliance & Recycling Manager

With residents sheltered at home during the COVID-19 outbreak, many find welcome relief by walking their dogs and enjoying the spring sunshine. Unfortunately, reports of pet waste left in our streets, roadways, and parks have increased significantly.

One pile of pet waste might not seem like much, but more than 29,000 domestic pets live in College Station. Our furry friends generate hundreds of pounds of waste every day. If the waste isn’t disposed of properly (it takes a year to fully break down), storm runoff can wash it into local waterways and discharge it directly into creeks.

The contaminated runoff affects our water quality and creates genuine health risks as a source of E. coli and nutrient pollution. Fecal matter from dogs and other urban animals can also cause GiardiaParvoroundwormsSalmonella, and other viruses and parasites.

So what should you do when walking your pet? 

Carry a scooper and use the baggie as a glove. Scoop the poop, invert and seal the bag, then toss it in the trash. If you allow your animal to defecate on someone else’s property or in public areas without removing it, you’re breaking the law.

Be a responsible, courteous, and law-abiding pet owner — always Scoop the Poop.

 


About the Blogger

Carolina Ask is in her third year with the city and her first as the environmental compliance and recycling manager. She previously served as an engineering program specialist and environmental inspector. Caroline previously held environmental health positions at Texas A&M and Houston’s Texas Children’s Hospital. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Bioenvironmental Sciences from A&M in 2012.


 

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How businesses and apartments can recycle, too

By Caroline Ask, Environmental Compliance & Recycling Manager

Just about everyone recognizes that recycling and appropriate sustainability habits are vital to our well-being as a community. That’s why the City of College Station promotes and implements relevant practices, including providing low-cost recycling services for as many of our residents as possible.

While our community loves the recycling collection services the city has in our single-family residential areas, we don’t currently offer these services to businesses and multi-family dwellings such as apartments.

But that doesn’t mean your business or apartment complex doesn’t have recycling options. You can still commission services from private recycling businesses that are franchised to collect here.

The goal of the city’s recycling program is to decrease the amount of waste that enters the landfill by diverting eligible materials for recycling. We recycle efficiently to keep contamination at a minimum. And not all waste is contaminated, despite what it may seem.

Recycling contamination refers to non-recyclable materials or garbage that ends up in the recycling system. Materials may be non-recyclable because of a lack of market value, the unavailability of adequate processing infrastructure, or something as simple as residual food particles – such as greasy pizza boxes.

For a recycling program to function properly, residents must take precautions to minimize contamination. Our Solid Waste Division recently conducted a yearlong feasibility study that identified a high rate of recycling contamination as one of our most significant challenges.

In most instances, tenants relocate recyclables from their apartment units to a complex-wide collection bin, which is typically placed next to a solid waste dumpster. Unfortunately, some tenants seem to think the recycling bin is just another place to put their garbage. That makes it significantly more difficult to identify the source of contamination or even illegal dumping practices at communal containers.

Our study found that centralized recycling collection at apartments leads to materials that are so highly contaminated that they can only be hauled to the landfill. Subsequently, door-to-door collections where the generating resident could be identified and informed would be the only effective means for a successful multi-family program. High resident turnover in multi-family complexes complicates the process even more.

We must overcome many formidable hurdles before we can provide city-wide recycling for apartments and other multi-family residences in an economical, efficient way. We are always striving to find better ways to encourage responsible sustainability practices and improve the valued services we provide.

 


About the Blogger

Carolina Ask is in her third year with the city and her first as the environmental compliance and recycling manager. She previously served as an engineering program specialist and environmental inspector. Caroline previously held environmental health positions at Texas A&M and Houston’s Texas Children’s Hospital. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Bioenvironmental Sciences from A&M in 2012.


 

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Never miss your waste collection day again

By Caroline Ask, Environmental Compliance & Recycling Manager

How often have you been leisurely enjoying your morning coffee when you suddenly hear a large truck rumbling down your street?

You instantly know what it means — it’s your solid waste or recycling collection day, and you forgot to place your bin at the curb line.

Most of the time, College Station residents do an exceptional job of helping our collections run smoothly, but now it’s even easier with our improved free mobile app, which is called College Station Curbside. It replaces the outdated MyWaste/Recycle Coach app.

College Station Curbside’s straightforward, uncomplicated design makes staying informed about solid waste and recycling collection almost effortless. You can quickly find the garbage, recycling, and bulk/brush pickup collection schedule specific to your address and set the app to remind you of your collection days.

If you don’t have an Apple or Android smartphone, you can use our online My Schedule tool. Through My Schedule, you can sign up to receive waste collection reminders by email, phone, or text message. You can also print or download the schedule into your iCal, Google, or Microsoft Outlook calendar.

You’ll never again forget to put out your garbage, recycling, or bulk/brush items.

And you can enjoy that steaming hot cup of coffee in peace.

 

 

 


About the Blogger

Carolina Ask is in her third year with the city but her first as the environmental compliance and recycling manager. She previously served as an engineering program specialist and environmental inspector. Before joining the city, Caroline held environmental health positions at Texas A&M and at Houston’s Texas Children’s Hospital. She earned a bachelor’s in Bioenvironmental Sciences from Texas A&M in 2012.


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