Keep Bastrop County Beautiful
In January of 2009, two like-minded people who wanted to get something done about the lack of a systematic recycling program in Bastrop County joined together. They talked with the county judge, commissioners, LCRA, BISD, friends of recycling, contacted Keep Texas Beautiful (KTB) and soon the first meeting was scheduled for June 2009. By the second meeting, Keep Bastrop County Beautiful (KBCB) was formed.
To inspire individuals and businesses to improve their communities and the natural environment.
To make Bastrop County a clean and beautiful county in which to live, work and visit and to support environmental and conservation initiatives.
The goals of Keep Bastrop County Beautiful, a non-profit community 501 (c) (3) organization are:
- Litter prevention
- Waste reduction
Community Leadership and Coordination
Keep Bastrop County Beautiful (KBCB), a Gold Star Affiliate of Keep Texas Beautiful (KTB), was founded in 2009 in response to the desire to preserve and protect our natural and man made environments. It is an unstaffed non-profit managed by a ten member volunteer Board of Directors who meet monthly. We solicit grants for programs from local businesses, governmental and corporate entities, and offer individual, family and business memberships. The Board of Directors annually reviews accomplishments and sets new goals each year. KBCB credits much of its rapid growth and success to the partnerships it has developed within the local communities, organizations and governmental groups, e.g. Bastrop County, Cities of Bastrop, Elgin and Smithville, Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative, Balcones Resources, Bastrop Economic Development Corporation, Main Street Programs in Bastrop and Elgin, etc. All KBCB activities are 100% volunteer supported.
Keep Bastrop County Beautiful is a visible presence in the community through all forms of media that support not only their activities but also those of their partners.
KBCB hosts a website at http://keepbastropcountybeautiful.org. The website provides an interactive recycling resource guide, updates on KBCB news and future activities, information on educational grants and scholarships given out by KBCB, and membership/sponsor information for individuals, families, and businesses. KBCB maintains two Facebook pages with regular posts and updates. KBCB members handed out printed material on KBCB, KTB, over 1000 recycling guides, Talking Trash in Bastrop County, and other information. KBCB has partnered with Lone Star Disposal to provide two grants of $250 each and one grant of $500 for Bastrop Independent School District (BISD) K-4 teachers to innovate “green” education. Two $500 scholarships are awarded to two seniors from BISD who are planning to pursue studies on environmental stewardship. Sixty-three students received the cash prizes and recognition certificates for winning the Recycle More Art Contest. Four local businesses were recognized by KBCB for their innovation and design of their FestiviTREES made from recycled material. Customers voted on their favorite trees to determine the winners.
As noted earlier, a major event is the annual “Heart of Texas Green Expo” with educational topics presented KBCB sponsored the fourth annual “FestiviTREES” with 20 local businesses decorating trees with recycled objects throughout Bastrop. The “Recycle More Art Contest”, funded by KTB and HEB, had over 250 students from kindergarten through twelfth grades from all schools competing for prizes. The local libraries in Bastrop, Elgin and Smithville hosted the event.
Beautification & Community Improvement
Bastrop County was devastated by the Bastrop Complex fire in 2011. It spread across 34,000 acres and destroyed 1,700 homes. Activities to replant trees at the state parks and on private property include support for the TreeFolks and the Bastrop Reforestation Program. In 2013, 726 volunteers worked over 2000 hours to plant 36,360 trees during the 16 volunteer events.
Litter Prevention & Cleanup
A May household hazardous waste (HHW) survey compiled at the event showed about 60% of the drivers had never participated in a collection event before. 95% said that proper management was important to them, and only about 5% said they regularly dispose of HHW by throwing it into the trash. The event was during Keep America Beautiful’s Great American Cleanup and was funded by 12 public and private organizations. More than 380 people brought 25,936 lbs. of paint, 850 gallons of oil, 1202 tires and 7.4 tons of E-Waste. 43 KBCB volunteers surveyed 240 people in line and distributed 400 educational pieces to everyone. River Refuge, etc. We have seen a great deal of change in attitudes with 1500 attendees at last year’s Heart of Texas Green Expo.
Solid Waste Management
Solid waste management is a partnership between our cities, parks and recreation departments, the county, schools, Goodwill, and private individuals and businesses. Republic Services contracts with all three major cities and collected 22,644 tons of trash and 816 tons of recyclables. Curbside recycling is provided as part of their standard service and weekly bulky trash pickup. Outside the city limits, four private waste haulers, Lone Star Disposal, ATEX, CAM and Monarch offer waste and recycling curbside pickup.
Litter Law & Illegal Dumping Enforcement
Bastrop County is actively engaged in limiting illegal dumping, employing two code enforcement officers who enforce section 341 and 343 of the Texas Health and Safety plus 680 of the Texas Transportation Code. Of 218 violations, 147 cases are closed, 27 citations issued and 44 cases opened with 11 court cases pending. The Cities of Bastrop, Elgin and Smithville each employ one full time Code Enforcement Officer.
Bastrop County has the advantages of a beautiful environment and an educated, engaged population who seek to preserve and protect their world. The area is experiencing rapid growth and we recognize that with such growth comes a responsibility to nurture and protect what we have. Educational programs are increasing awareness at all age levels, recycling is increasing, illegal litter dumping is being prosecuted and individual education is increasing along with program participation. It is a change in the collective individual lifestyles that will have the greatest impact on the future of Bastrop County. KBCB is proud of its role to enhance the quality of life in Bastrop County.
Keep Bastrop County Beautiful is a nonprofit, 501(c)3, organization dedicated to inspire all to improve their community and the natural environment. All donations are tax deductible. KBCB is a GOLD affiliate of Keep Texas Beautiful.