TxN 20 Highlights — Municipal Services

2022 TxN 20: Texan-led leadership in conservation for a sustainable future in Municipal Services.

The Texan by Nature team is excited to present the fourth annual list of Texan by Nature 20 (TxN 20) Honorees. TxN 20 recognizes outstanding work in conservation and sustainability from Texas-based businesses.

It’s an opportunity to showcase innovation, commitment to conservation, and best practices from the industries keep Texas running: Agriculture, Architecture, Financial Services, Food, Beverage, & Grocery,Technology, Energy, Healthcare, Municipal Services, Retail, Transportation, and Construction & Manufacturing. 

Meet the 2022 TxN 20  Honorees leading sustainability in Municipal Services: City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department (PARD).

$1.2 million invested in expanding recycling to parks citywide2022 Honoree City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department

Who is the City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department?

The Austin Parks and Recreation Department has been the steward of the City of Austin’s public lands since 1928.  As such, they protect and maintain parkland and urban forest. Austin PARD preserve trails, and offer a variety of sports, recreation, educational enrichment, arts programs, cultural opportunities, nature and aquatic activities.

How the City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department sets the standard

Austin PARD demonstrates that individual efforts can make a big impact: two staff members of the Austin Nature and Science Center sheltered at the center during Winter Storm Uri to care for the wildlife. Because of their dedication, 100 animals were protected during Winter Storm Uri and suffered no significant impacts due to the storm or stress. From wildlife to waste disposal, Austin Parks and Recreation Department’s  Recycling Implementation Plan has invested $1.2 million in expanding recycling to parks citywide by installing landfill and recycling receptacles as paired units on concrete pads with two-way dome lids and clear labels in English and Spanish. PARD Forestry recycles all debris from its tree maintenance program. Once a month, Austin residents can take home free logs from trees that have been removed from the parkland for safety reasons resulting in 980 tons of brush and 80 tons of wood recycled annually.

Why Forward Thinking Leaders in Municipal Services Matter

Leadership in environmental sustainability from Municipal Services makes it possible to take care of the places we call home. With a state recycling rate of 22%, below the national average, the efforts of the City of Austin PARD to expand recycling are essential to close the gap in responsible waste disposal in Texas. Austin PARD’s innovative stewardship of urban forests, which provide ecosystem services like erosion control and improved air quality, engages the community with circularity by offering free firewood from landscape management.

How TxN20 Honorees Are Selected Each Year

To select the 2022 TxN 20 Honorees, the TxN Team evaluated submissions and conducted independent research across 2,000+ of Texas’ publicly traded and private companies in 12 key industry sectors. 

All companies were evaluated on a 17-point scoring system, from which the top 60 highest-scoring companies moved on to the final round of TxN 20. A selection committee of top industry leaders and experts was then formed to evaluate the top 60 companies and select the final 20 businesses recognized as TxN 20 Honorees.

Honorable Mentions: Standouts in Sustainability

In addition to this year’s TxN 20 Honorees, here are three industry standouts for best practices in conservation and sustainability coming from companies across the agriculture industry.

Industry Innovator: Waste Connections

Waste Connections is a waste disposal company that offers recycling and trash pickup as well as special and hazardous waste disposal. The company has demonstrated its commitment to sustainability by outlining a 15 year sustainability target plan and allocating $500 million to achieve the plan’s goals. Waste Connections has also installed 50 gas recovery systems to capture methane gas from landfills, reducing air pollution, and 28 of those gas recovery systems power homes and businesses in the surrounding areas.  

Industry Innovator: City of San Marcos

The City of San Marcos is known for its natural beauty and resources, which are stewarded by city management. The City of San Marcos offers its citizens incentives to be more sustainable, including rebates for solar energy and rainwater harvesting. San Marcos also manages the Community Forestry Program, which maintains and restores urban forest ecosystems on over 2004 acres.  

Industry Innovator: Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center

Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio sets a statewide example by incorporating sustainability into all their event operations. Trash bags at the convention center are 100% biodegradable and recycling bags are 100% recyclable. The center also uses only Green Seal Certified cleaning products and has invested in energy efficiency by installing solar thermal film on all windows.

Get Involved:

Is your company at the forefront of sustainability in Texas? Share your work with Texan by Nature by submitting Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) data that showcases how your company benefits people, prosperity, and natural resources to programs@texanbynature.org.

To be considered for the official TxN 20 list, companies must:

  • Have operations and employees based in Texas;
  • Share a demonstrated commitment to conservation & sustainability;
  • Showcase tangible efforts, impact, and data in conservation;
  • NOT be a conservation-based nonprofit (501c3).