This Issue: TX Recycles Day Contest, Arbor Day, Leaf Management

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Burn Where You Buy

Firewood transported into the state may harbor an army of invasive insects and diseases, with the potential to destroy our forest resources. For example, it is possible that the invasive soapberry borer, Agrilus prionurus, arrived in Texas in firewood brought in from Mexico. This insect has been found killing western soapberry trees in 50 counties in Texas since it was first discovered in Travis county in 2003. 

Of particular concern is potential long-distance movement of firewood that may harbor non-native invasive pests already established in limited regions of the United States. The Asian longhorned beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis), established in the northeast, and the emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis), now distributed among 18 states, are prime examples of candidates that are major threats for long-distance movement via firewood.

To make sure invasive insects are not spread on firewood, use firewood from local sources. Don't take firewood with you on your camping trip, RV adventure, or to your hunting camp. Don't bring firewood back from your second home to your place in the suburbs. Instead, burn it where you buy it. A good rule of thumb is only using wood that was cut within 50 miles of where you'll have your fire. 

Learn more at Don' 


TCEQ Releases New Summary of Municipal Solid Waste Management

Owners and operators of municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills and other waste management facilities submit an annual report to the TCEQ, detailing the amount and types of solid waste managed at each facility. The annual summary for Sept. 1, 2013 - Aug. 31, 2014 was recently released.

In 2014, total disposal of MSW in the state was approximately 32.37 million tons. Using the state population estimate of 26,956,958, the landfill disposal rate in Texas was 6.58 pounds per person per day, which is slightly above the 2013 rate of 6.33 pounds. During this period, the state’s population increased 1.9%.

Per Capita Rate for MSW disposal

The total remaining MSW landfill capacity in the state at the end of 2014 was 2.87 billion cubic yards. Based on reported compaction rates, this volume would hold 1.94 billion tons of waste and serve for 60 years. Read the entire report and reports from previous years.


Planning to shop on Black Friday? 

Don't forget to BYOB!

Bring Your Own Bag
Composting Video

Leaf Management

Don't Bag It - Compost It! 

Organic landscape materials, including leaves, wood trimmings, and grass clippings often contribute significantly to a communities’ annual solid waste. During peak leafdrop in fall when residents are bagging and placing leaves at the curbside, organic materials may account for as much as 50 percent of the incoming landfill volume.

The irony is that, with the exception of large woody brush, residents can recycle all their organic materials right in their own yards through composting, mulching, and grasscycling. By recycling these materials, we’re not just saving our landfill space but also improving our home environment. Organic matter adds valuable nutrients back to the soil, improves the condition of our soils, helps insulate the soil from temperature extremes, and helps plants survive dry periods by holding moisture in our soil.

Watch our video, "How to Start Composting in Your Own Back Yard," where Travis County Master Gardener Patricia Mokry explains various simple ways to begin to compost. Learn more about leaf management through Texas A&M AgriLife's Earth-Kind Landscaping program.

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Texas Arbor Day Celebrated Friday, Nov. 6

Tree Planting

Texas first observed Arbor Day in 1889, celebrating the benefits that trees provide over a lifetime. Although National Arbor Day is celebrated in April, Texas celebrates it on the first Friday in November during our prime tree-planting season.

Create a memorable Arbor Day:

  • Celebrate by planting treesSelect special trees to plant as memorial or honorary trees.
  • Take a class of students on a tree identification hike around campus or within your community.
  • Hold an essay contest where students describe the importance of trees to their community.
  • Invite a local arborist to give a tree-climbing demonstration.

How Do You Recycle? Tell Us for the Chance to Win a $50 H-E-B Gift Card


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Do you recycle your food scraps into compost? Are you making holiday decorations out of items you already have around the house? Tell or show us how you recycle! Bragging is encouraged—you can upload a picture too! 

Top entries will be added to our website, and one entry will be selected at random to win a $50 H-E-B gift card. Contest ends Sunday, Nov. 15. Complete Contest Rules.

Buy Local Produce for Your Thanksgiving Meal

Go Texan

Luckily, Texas is one of the largest producers of fresh fruits and vegetables, so your Thanksgiving meal choices are endless. Find local products at:

Another important Thanksgiving tip: Be certain to thaw your turkey safely. Follow these important tips from the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension to make this holiday a memorable one for all the right reasons!

Time's running out to plant your bluebonnet patch.


For most successful results, bluebonnet seeds should be planted no later than mid-November. Fall planting gives seeds the advantage of early fall rains that induce germination and encourage vigorous root growth. Bluebonnets winter over as seedlings, and are not susceptible to freezing. The plants have a head start on growth when warm, wet weather arrives in February and March. Learn more.

art contest square

Subscribe to receive notices for the 2016 How Do You Take Care of Texas? elementary school art contest. The contest begins Jan. 4, 2016; entries must be postmarked on or before March 2, 2016.

Contest Rules

Contest Entry Form