Sikes Senter Working to be "Green"

An initiative is underway to reduce our carbon footprint. Officials at Sikes Senter Mall are offering residents an easy way to dispose of your trash. Containers are in the south parking lot of the mall, near Toys "R" Us  along a wooden fence. Tuesday was the second day the bins have been there. Officials hope that through time Texomans will take advantage of it.

When you drive through Sikes Senter Mall it's not uncommon to find trash lying around on the pavement

"We're picking up plastic bags, cans, containers, cardboard boxes," said Sikes Senter General Manager, Bo Bailey.

A new initiative is underway to reduce that.

"It's a conscious effort for us to become more proactive with the community and be more proactive with recycling," he said.

Sikes Senter Mall officials are partnering with Progressive Waste Solutions, formerly IESI. They want people to think twice before throwing their trash on the ground or in a garbage can. These bins accept many different types of recyclables, from cardboard to plastic and there is no separating. While they are located on mall property, the focus is on you.

"Just because there is more land, doesn't mean we need to build more landfills, we need to be more conscious of that kind of thing," said Bailey.

This program is free to residents, but it does require people to bring in their own trash. The city also offers its own organic curb side recycling bin for a small $3 fee.

"We do composting, we collect it curbside, about two-thirds of everything we throw away can be collected and put away in our composting bins," said Sanitation Superintendent David Lehfeldt.

The only drawback is it doesn't accept some items, like plastic, still the impact is noticeable.

"When we first started with the paper bag collection way back in '94 we had about 200 people on board. When we went to plastic curb carts then we ended up with about two to three thousand, now it hovers around 7,000 to 9,000," said Lehfeldt.

Growing efforts in the community to "be green" now give residents options to consider when recycling.

Sikes Senter Mall General Manager Bo Bailey says only about 10 percent of trash coming from the mall businesses is recycled. He hopes to improve that to 75 percent. He also says part two of this phase will get other businesses and schools involved to create an electronic recycling program in the spring.

Sanitation Superintendent David Lehfeldt says the city composted 20 to 25,000 tons from the organic recycling program. He says that's about a 15 percent recycling rate.

Crystal Hall Newschannel 6.