In an effort to curb excess waste as San Marcos’ population grows, apartment complexes have teamed up with the city for Bin It to Win It, a recycling competition that results in prizes for the top contender
The competition is from Oct. 8 to Nov. 16 and will be managed by the Community Enhancement Initiatives department, with which the apartment complexes can register with to participate.
Amy Kirwin, Community Enhancement Initiatives manager, said this is the third annual competition, which has received positive feedback from residents and the city in the past.
“At apartment complexes, recycling is serviced weekly, so the day of the recycling service, we’ll go in that morning and pull out contamination, if there is any. We’ll get an estimated volume and compare that to the number of units,” said Kirwin. “The apartment complexes will get points on how much they’re recycling and how much they’re not contaminating the recycling containers.”
Each participating complex has a specific hashtag to use on social media to help gain the complex points: Vintage Pads #vintagebinz, Village on Telluride #votbinsit, The Edge #theedgecares, Riverside Ranch Apartments #riversideranchrecycles. Residents outside of these apartments can participate with the hashtags #binit2winit and #SMTXrecycles.
Kirwin said the points will go toward a prize, including a trophy made of reused items and a pizza party for the complex. Points will be determined through the amount recycled, resident participation in daily, weekly and complex-hosted competitions, and social media posts.
According to Kirwin, the gathered recyclables will be processed by Texas Disposal Systems in Creedmoor, Texas and will be sent to national manufacturers when it is sold. After materials are sorted, they are sold according to the type of product they are. Metals are melted down in places around Texas. Plastics are sent to other states to be made into reusable items.
The apartments currently registered to participate are The Edge, Vintage Pads and the Village on Telluride. Kim Persio, general manager of the Village on Telluride St, said the apartment complex has participated in the past and the initiative helps residents become more engaged in recycling.
“Last year, we got second place and we feel like it’s important and a lot of residents feel like it’s important to recycle,” Persio said. “We have bins on the property and it helps them know what to do and the details of recycling, where to take it, what’s accepted and where it goes.”
According to the San Marcos Solid Waste Comprehensive Plan, the number of residents in San Marcos is expected to increase to 72,455 by 2020, which will result in a 34-percent increase in the amount of solid waste generated in tons per year. In 2015, the number of residents was 63,182 and the estimated number of waste generated was 30,945 tons.
According to the comprehensive plan, the goal is to recycle 5,095 tons of waste per year by 2020. In 2015, the city only recycled 2,776 out of 30,945 tons of waste collected.
Laura Ishibashi, Administrative Services manager at Green Guy Recycling, a recycling company in San Marcos, said the company will take in recyclables not processed by Texas Disposal Systems. This includes products such as electronics, motor oil, tires and hard metals. Ishibashi said they process millions of recyclable materials annually.
“We recycle well over 20,000,000 pounds of recyclables a year and different commodities go to different places,” said Ishibashi. “Cardboards and paper go to paper mills in Louisiana, metals go to different companies and iron goes to a company in Texas to get melted down.”
The Solid Waste Comprehensive Plan expects there to be 12,738 tons of solid waste generated in 2020 with 5,095 tons expected to be recycled that same year.
To learn more about Bin it to Win it, contact the Community Enhancement Initiative department at 512.393.8419.