Fight Waste or Market Resources?  You Decide!
by
Commissioner Tommy Adkisson
June 12, 2003

In 1981 I stood as a Freshman member of the Texas House of Representatives, along with the late State Representative Lou Nelle Sutton, then State Representative Frank Madla and the late Frank Tejeda, then a fellow State Representative as well.  We were taking the first of many steps down the road of Southern Sector landfill opposition at the proposed Tessman Road Landfill in East Bexar County.  This was a particularly bitter pill for many in our community since just before the landfill proposal, this site was to be the location of the new Seaworld.

It did not take this experience though for me to know that landfill opposition was a temporary, stop-gap measure.  It was also very negative for all involved and on this occasion, we did not win the fight.  Over time however, I found a way to positively and proactively stop an endless series of landfill fights.

That solution is reducing, reusing and recycling!  We simply cannot fight what we are feeding!  And to accelerate resource recovery through education, I am facilitating the Third South Texas Resource Recovery Roundtable.  This year though, we present a Resource Recovery Week with events all week long, on vital topics.  Fortunately our support team consists of Bexar County, the Alamo Area Council of Governments, the City of San Antonio and Keep San Antonio Beautiful.  The culminating event is this Friday, June 13, from 8:30 a.m. till 1:30 p.m. in the Heritage Room at St. Philip's College at a small cost of $5, which includes lunch.

Just what is in store at the Roundtable?  The greatest array of brainstormers and resource recovery experts in Texas along with timely issues, that's what!  Ben Craggs of RW Beck will address "Recycling---An Industry for the New Economy".  Scott Pasternak of R, S, & Y, will speak on "Ten Years of Solid Waste Management in Texas".  Rich Abromwitch, Regional Recycling Manager for Recycle America will speak on "New Recycling Efforts and Materials Recycling Facilities".

What is most distressing about our local area and State is the dismal rate of diversion or recycling.  For about the last ten years or more, the rate of recycling has been hovering at a pathetic 25 to 30 percent!  There really has been no significant movement toward the roughly 80% or more that is possible.  Meanwhile, precious landfill space is being filled up with the waste stream of governmental entities inside and outside of Bexar County with anemic or nonexistent efforts to reduce their respective waste stream by sponsoring reduction or recycling programs!  What is really ridiculous is that your urban County has no power to offer price incentives for those entities that do reduce and penalties for those who do not reduce their waste stream.

With this in mind, Sam Chandler, Recycling Manager for the City of Tucson, Arizona and a resource recovery professional of national reputation, will be our noon luncheon speaker on "Increasing Recycling Rates".

Resource Recovery Week presents for the first time, Daily News Conferences at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday of this week on the following topics with their respective sponsors:

Monday, June 9th - Clean Your Files Kick-off by Abitibi

9:30 AM - 5008 Space Center Drive

Tuesday, June 10th - Composting by Gardenville

9:30 AM - 7651 E. Evans Road

Wednesday, June 11th - Electronic Waste Recovery (fee based) sponsored by Nxtcycle; 9:30 AM - 3355 N. Pan Am Expressway; Thursday, June 11th - Paint Collection at City of San Antonio Hazardous Waste Site; 9:30 AM - 7030 Culebra Road Also, local celebrities will read in the afternoons from the Green Shelf at the following libraries:  (All times 2 - 3 p.m., except where noted *)

Monday, June 9th - Brookhollow Library

Tuesday, June 10th - Collins Garden Library

Wednesday, June 11th - Carver Library

*Thursday, June 12th - Westfall Library  (11AM – 12 PM)

With this year's event and your help in changing our individual habits here locally, landfill-fighting will be history in Bexar County and lucrative markets for resources recovered will attract the landfillers of today to the markets of tomorrow!  Then you and I will sometime in the future, leave this world at least somewhat better off than it was when we were born into it!

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