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Proposal to Improve Recycling Habits in the City of Plano

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Everyday citizens of Plano, Texas are faced with the decision of whether or not to recycle. Without an adequate recycling system in the city, our immediate environment could face serious consequences. Statistics from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency show that in 2009, the amount of trash sent to landfills nationwide averaged nearly three pounds daily, per person, in contrast to about one and one-half pounds of materials recycled (Environmental Protection Agency, 9). Recycling should come naturally to every citizen in Plano, Texas if they have proper resources to dispose of recycled materials in order to preserve our environment and to “keep Plano beautiful”. To improve our recycling system, the city of Plano, Texas needs to provide each household with four separate recycling bins, to encourage better recycling habits and to preserve our environment. The different recycling bins should be labeled as: glass, paper, plastic, and metals. The proposed changes will cost less than $50 per household and will help improve our environment, decrease the amount of recyclable materials that end up in landfills, and provide each citizen with a sense of satisfaction knowing that they played a part in the beautification of our city. Proven benefits of an effective recycling system are saving landfill space, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, savings in energy costs, and a boost in the economy.


Our recycling habits in the city of Plano, Texas are currently not as effective as they could potentially be if we had a better, more thorough and organized recycling system provided by the city. As a citizen of Plano, I believe we have a responsibility to take care of the environment in which we live. If we do not “keep America beautiful” now, which is a popular motto Plano is using, then our sanitation and trash problem will become too overwhelming, out of control and beyond repair. According to the city of Plano’s Litter Prevention team, Research and experience prove that litter – intentional or unintentional pollution resulting from consumer waste products being carelessly handled or improperly disposed – attracts more litter. A clean community, by contrast, discourages littering and raises local living standards and quality of life (City of Plano, 2009). However, studies have shown with proper recycling systems, the environment and everyone in it will benefit from a greener lifestyle.

Problems in our environment can be solved by introducing a better recycling program into the everyday lives of Plano, Texas citizens. To increase the amount of trash which is recyclable to be disposed of properly and out the landfills, the city of Plano needs to provide each household with four separate recycling bins: glass, paper, plastic, and metals. Objectives

The purpose of this proposal is to request a more advanced and organized recycling system from the city of Plano, Texas, to “keep America beautiful”, save landfill space, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save in energy costs, and to boost the economy, by providing the citizens of the community with four separate recycling bins. Background

Studies have shown that model recycling programs with a more organized recycling system have greatly increased the amount of materials recovered from landfills and has greatly reduced the amounts of recyclable materials ending up in landfills. Figure 1. Model Recycling Programs – Some Numbers and Descriptions (Environmental Protection Agency, 1999) Record-Setting Program| # Households| % Waste Stream Recovered| Materials Recovered| Collection Strategy| Blossom Hill Estates, San Jose, California| 736| 65% in one complex| ONP; OCC; OMG; missed paper; glass container; cans; juice and milk cartons; plastic bags, bottles, and jugs; polystyrene packaging; scrap metals; empty aerosol cans, textiles; yard trimmings| Sets of three 96-gallon recycling bins (one for each: newspaper, mixed paper, and other recyclables)|

East Orange, New Jersey| 6,236| 22%| ONP, OMG, phone books, cans; #1 & #2plastics, glass containers| sets of two 90-gallon carts (paperproducts in one; containers in theother), approximately one set per 30households| St. Paul, Minnesota| 27,114| 23%| ONP, OMG, OCC, phone books, mail,paperboard, glass| clusters of six 90-gallon wheeled carts;at least one cluster for every 100households| San Jose, California| 80,440| 25%| ONP;OCC; OMG; mixed paper; glasscontainer; cans; juice and milk cartons;plastic bags, bottles, and jugs;polystyrene packaging; scrap metals;empty aerosol cans; textiles; yardtrimmings| one set of three 96-gallon recyclingbins (one for each: newspaper, mixedpaper, and other recyclables) for every25 households|

When these communities designed such model recycling programs (see Figure 1) they considered several tips: 1) Involve residents in program planning and implementation. 2) Provide waste reduction education and information to new residents when they first move into units. 3) Make participation simple and convenient.

4) Encourage or reward resident participation.
5) Mandate waste reduction program availability and participation. 6) Keep careful cost and tonnage records in order to recognize true cost savings. 7) Focus on recovering materials with high volume and high value. 8) Provide feedback. Mail residents letters and talk to them. 9) Accept the same materials and use a consistent sorting system for all program participants in your community. 10) Produce educational materials in multiple languages and with simple graphics. According to the 2010 Census report for Plano, Texas, there were 259,841 residents occupying 76.1 square miles of the city, and there were 95,445 households between 2006 and 2010 (2012). The average person creates 4.34 pounds of waste per day and we only recycle and compost 1.46 pounds of this this trash (Environmental Protection Agency, 2010). Therefore, 2.88 pounds of our trash is going into the landfills, which could potentially be recycled. If 2.88 pounds of trash multiplied by each resident in Plano in 2010; that is a potential amount of 748,342 pounds of extra trash going into our municipal landfill each day, and 273,144,859 pounds each year! That is a lot of trash that could possibly be recycled or composted and made into something else!

“Significant amounts of material from each category were recycled or composted in 2009. The highest recovery rates were achieved in paper and paperboard, yard trimmings, and metals. We recycled more than 60 percent of the paper and paperboard we generated. About 20 million tons of yard trimmings were composted, representing about a five-fold increase since 1990. Recycling these organic materials alone kept 26 percent of MSW out of landfills” (Environmental Protection Agency, 2010). According to figure 2, out of 242.96% of the waste that was generated, only 82.02% was recovered from the landfill. Therefore, only 33.8% was recovered. This means that there is much room for improvement in the recovery of MSW from our municipal landfill. Data Sources

The data sources used to create this proposal came from online sources: such as government websites and Ashford University’s online periodical database library. Scope and Limitations
In order to improve the recycling system for the city of Plano, Texas, we must act with speed and precision. Each citizen must do their part and take sole responsibility for disposing of their trash correctly. If proper education is granted to each citizen about the improvement project on how to properly dispose of their trash, then our landfills and environmental will surely benefit! But this must all happen very soon before our environment and landfills are beyond repair.


According the 2010 Census Report for Plano, Texas, there were 103,672 households within the city of Plano. Each household will receive four Green Continental Curbside 14 Gallon Recycling Bins. Each bin will be labeled with a different material: glass, paper, plastic, or metals. Waste generated of such materials should be properly disposed of in their correct bin. This recycled wasted will be picked up by the city of Plano’s Sanitation Department and taken to their respectable places to be recycled into a product. Figure 3. Example of the Green Continental Curbside 14 Gallon Recycling Bin (The Webstraunt Store, 2012)

The city of Plano will continue its regularly scheduled pick up times and days for all recyclable materials.

Materials and Equipment
The city of Plano can purchase the Green Continental Curbside 14 Gallon Recycling Bin from any company that sells recycling bins. Although, after searching for the best prices, this particularly recycling bin was found at the Webstrauntstore.com for $11.43 each. If four of these bins were purchased for each household, the city will have spent less than $50 per household, and a total of $4,739.883.84. The city will need to adjust their fully automated trucks so that they will pick up these new and different kinds of bins. The cost of maintenance on the trucks will need to be determined.

If the city of Plano, Texas does not improve its recycling program, future of our immediate environment could face serious consequences. We could face higher energy costs, high greenhouse gas emissions, no change in the economy, and we could risk overfilling our landfill space. This proposal is a suggestion for a positive way to involve the members of our community in improving the way we recycle and the future of our environment. The current citizens will be helping themselves and the future citizens of Plano, TX.

ONP = newspaper OMG = magazines and catalogs
OCC = corrugated cardboard MSW = Municipal Solid Waste

Works Cited

City of Plano. 2009. Litter Prevention. Retrieved July 31, 2012 from, http://www.plano.gov/Departments/Environmental%20Services/GreenLiving/LitterPrevention/Pages/default.aspx. U.S. Department of Commerce, United States Census Bureau. 2012, June 6. State and Country QuickFacts. Retrieved July 31, 2012 from, http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/48/4858016.html. United States Environmental Protection Agency. October 1999. Complex Recycling Issues. Retrieved July 31, 2012 from http://www.epa.gov/osw/conserve/downloads/f99022.pdf. United States Environmental Protection Agency. December 2011. Municipal Solid Waste Generation, Recycling, and Disposal in the United States: Facts and Figures for 2010. Retrieved July 31, 2012 from, http://www.epa.gov/osw/nonhaz/municipal/pubs/msw_2010_rev_factsheet.pdf. Smith-Worthington, D., Jefferson, S. 2008. Technical Writing for Success, 3rd Edition. Mason, OH: South-Western Cengage Learning. The Webstraunt Store. 2012. Retrieved July 31, 2012 from, http://www.webstaurantstore.com/green-continental-5914-2-curbside-14-gallon-recycling-bin/27459142%20%20%20%20GN.html?utm_source=NexTag&utm_medium=cse&utm_campaign=NexTag+Campaign.

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