DALLAS, Texas — "That's to provide more recycling to all of our residents. So we also do more with our parks division to have recycling carts in the parks and downtown, and different opportunities to recycle throughout the city."
Research suggests that recycling can be a significant step toward fulfilling other big goals such as national energy independence and slowing the rate of climate change, partly because it takes more energy to produce things from scratch than to use recycled materials. A Tellus Institute report finds that cutting the waste stream by 75 percent would also add more than 2 million U.S. jobs by 2030.
Zac Trahan thinks ramped-up recycling, re-using things when possible, and reducing the demand for throw-away products in the first place could help lower the volume of some of today's more divisive energy debates.
"Coal, or natural gas, or nuclear. There are significant downsides to all the energy sources. These are things that we're used to arguing and debating over. But our production and consumption and waste is very connected to that."
This past August, Dallas officials set a long-term zero-waste goal for the city, a 90 percent recycling rate by 2040. Trahan says that can't happen until the city passes a right-to-recycle ordinance.