By and large, the city receives a passing mark in terms of its strides toward protecting the environment, says Jeff Jacoby, Dallas’ staff director for the Texas Campaign for the Environment, a grassroots advocacy group. Here are some of his praises and critiques:
Jacoby says he is “disappointed” the city has drug its feet on reducing trash pickup from twice a week to once a week.
“I think our politicians in general give the citizens less credit than they deserve, in particular their ability to adapt in order to help this planet. And the fact that councilmen haven’t reflected that support in their policies is “honestly just mindboggling,” Jacoby says.
Single-stream recycling (the ability to place all recyclables in one container without having to separate them) through Dallas’ blue bin recycling program has definitely made recycling more user-friendly for Dallas residents, Jacoby says. So have the 52 giant blue dumpsters (also single-stream) placed at schools, parks, libraries, churches and other sites throughout the city.
But the city “needs to dramatically expand its recycling capabilities for multi-family dwellings,” Jacoby says. “My understanding is that more than half of Dallas residents live in apartments or condos and don’t have access to curbside recycling.”(Mary Nix says a pilot program for multi-family was part of the 2008 budget, but “got snipped because of economics.” She included the pilot in the 2009 budget as well, but expects it will meet the same fate.)
Austin is usually pinpointed in Texas as a progressively “green” city, and Jacoby would like to see Dallas emulate some of the best practices of Austin and other innovative Texas cities. However, he proudly says, “we are purchasing more green energy than Austin.”
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