November News You Can Use

November 2013

Nonpoint Source Water Pollution

What is it and what can I do about it?

Honey Creek-TPWD

Honey Creek photo courtesy of Texas Parks & Wildlife Department.

Nonpoint source pollution is pollution that occurs without an obvious source. Most often a result of rainwater runoff, NPS pollution can spread with rainfall, moving over and through the ground. As water moves, it picks up and carries natural and human-produced pollutants, such as fertilizer and sewage, finally depositing it into lakes, rivers, streams, bays, and other water bodies.

NPS pollution is difficult to control because it comes from the everyday activities of many different people. For example, pollutants may be washed off residential lawns, construction areas, farmland, or highways during a heavy rain and carried to a nearby waterway. Each of us can contribute without even realizing it!

Not surprisingly, pollution can affect the quality of water in many ways. That is why it is important for Texans to take voluntary steps to help keep our water clean. We can work together to reduce and prevent NPS pollution by practicing conservation and by changing certain everyday habits such as these:

  • Have your septic system inspected by a licensed professional every 2 years, and have the septic tank pumped as necessary—usually every 3 to 5 years.




  • Manage motor vehicle fluids, paints, and household chemicals properly. Learn about resources for used and unwanted household chemicals.  


  • Clean up spilled oils, and other products. Do not hose them into the street where they can reach local streams and lakes.


  • Avoid overwatering, which can wash fertilizer away and increase runoff.


  • Purchase less-toxic household products. Find out more at the Take Care of Texas Animated House.

Visit the TCEQ’s NPS Public Education page for more actions you can take to prevent NPS pollution. 

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Talking Trash

Texans toss 6.37 pounds of solid waste per day!

According to TCEQ’s annual report, Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) in Texas: A Year in Review, Texas landfills reported disposal of MSW in the state totals about 30.31 million tons. Using the state population estimate of about 26 million, the per capita landfill disposal rate in Texas was 6.37 pounds per person per day, which is slightly more than the 2011 rate of 6.15 pounds. During this period, the state’s population increased 1.5 percent.

66 percent of total waste is residential-commercial.

The TCEQ’s annual summary combines residential and commercial waste and defines both as “municipal.” In 2012, municipal waste accounted for almost 66 percent of the total waste disposed. 


Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Public and private programs supporting the state’s goals for reducing, reusing, and recycling assist in preserving disposal capacity in landfills. Throughout the state, paper, glass, aluminum cans, plastic, scrap metal, wood, and numerous other items are recycled every day. By recycling, consumers can help reduce waste, help conserve energy, and preserve our state’s natural resources.  

Recycling is one opportunity among many aimed at doing our part to Take Care of Texas.  Find additional information on TCEQ’s recycling programs and more tips at Take Care of Texas.

Free Publications Highlight:



PLUG INTO ELECTRONICS RECYCLING (GI-423) Learn how to recycle old televisions and other electronics. Order FREE copies of this brochure while supplies last. Send an e-mail to with GI-423 as the subject line. In the e-mail, include the quantity and your street mailing address. We cannot ship to a P.O. Box.





PLUG INTO COMPUTER RECYCLING (GI-408) A great guide for recycling computers and peripherals. Order FREE copies of this brochure while supplies last. Send an e-mail to with GI-408 as the subject line. In the e-mail, include the quantity and your street mailing address. We cannot ship to a P.O. Box.


Use these in mail-outs or as stand-alone handouts to tell Texans how to recycle their old television and computer equipment.


Clear the Clutter!


The holidays are about to make our busy lives even busier. Set aside time now to get organized and Take Care of Texas for the season. By recycling your unwanted computer equipment and other electronics gear, you give new life to old belongings, which may contain valuable materials that can be recovered to produce new products. Here are a few recycling resources to help you clear the clutter:


  • Don’t throw out that old word processor, dated monitor, or broken keyboard. Check out the Texas Recycles Computers program to find out about free options for recycling computer equipment.


  • Ready to buy a new LCD flat-panel for the big game? Visit the Texas Recycles TVs program for locations to recycle your old set.


  • Attack that junk drawer overflowing with pens, old receipts, expired batteries, and maybe an old cell phone, or two. When in doubt about how to recycle, check out our Quick Guide to Recycling Resources.  

Bring recycling home for the holidays. In the process, you’ll keep our state’s land, air, and water clean.



While America Recycles Day has been a national event since 1997, Texans actually created the idea three years earlier in 1994. Texas Recycles Day is a special reminder of the importance of recycling.  It also encourages Texans to use products made from recycled material.


Recycling is not difficult, sends less material to the waste stream, and it results in consuming less of our resources. Even if you already practice recycling today, there is probably more you can do. We encourage you to look beyond your home, work, and school, to find new recycling opportunities. Take an active role in encouraging others to recycle, too. You can help Take Care of Texas by participating in a local recycling event and making recycling a part of your everyday activities.  

Thanksgiving Day - November 28th

Give Thanks

Tucked between the two monster-size holidays of Halloween and Christmas, Thanksgiving receives far less attention. But Thanksgiving is an important opportunity for thinking about reducing waste as well as giving back. Appreciate the environment by taking a few steps to Take Care of Texas this holiday season:

  • Place leftover oil and grease in the garbage; never pour these down the drain!


  • Plan shopping in advance so you can combine trips to save fuel and reduce emissions.


  • Set your table with cloth napkins and reusable dishes, glasses, and silverware.


  • Compost leftover non-meat or dairy food scraps.


  • If you’re traveling, turn down your home thermostat and put lights on timers.

For more tips, visit Take Care of Texas!


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