Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Reward? When CPS Energy Environmental Analyst, Bruce Ridpath, first heard of the City of San Antonio’s ReWorksSA’s recycling certification, a lightbulb went off in his head. The award celebrates businesses that are committed to a high level of sustainable materials management by following practices for waste reduction and recycling. ReWorks SA is a branch of the Solid Waste Management Department that believes local businesses’ waste reduction and recycling efforts play a significant role in improving the environmental and economic profile of San Antonio. Bruce knew CPS Energy’s Salado Fleet Garage was implementing these practices daily and that environmental responsibility continues to serve as a foundation for CPS Energy employees.
“I decided to start with nominating the Salado Garage because I was familiar with it – but all of our garages recycle,” said Bruce.
Bruce proceeded with nominating the Salado Garage for a recycling certification. He worked closely with CPS Energy’s Salado Garage Manager, Mike Gutierrez on the application and detailing the materials the Salado Garage recycled. From recycling used oil and tires to brake pads, batteries and regular plastic ware, the Salado Garage team didn’t have to make very many adjustments.
“We’ve been recycling for decades. I thought, ‘why not get some recognition?’”, Bruce said.
Bruce even took an extra step to ensure the garage was utilizing all resources available to them for recycling. “We have large barrels where we dispose of windshield washer fluid, transmission fluid and other things that are in plastic bottles and I noticed there was a recycling symbol at the bottom. I reached out to our trash hauler to ask if we could use those for recycling and they said yes. I put wheels on the barrels labeled them as designated recycling areas and we began using those as recycling spots as well.”
Part of the ReWorks SA process to become certified, is an evaluation of the recycling efforts of the organization. Upon evaluation, the CPS Energy Salado garage was awarded with the ReWorks SA Gold Certification- the highest award available from ReWorks SA surrounding recycling practices. CPS Energy was also the first public organization to be presented their Gold award.
The Salado garage recently took another step in being environmentally responsible. The team transitioned from using shop rags to using paper towels. Realizing the amount of waste paper towels were creating, the team implemented a pilot program that uses the traditional red shop rags. The program utilizes a service that washes and returns the used rags eliminating paper towel waste.
CPS Energy is proud to kick off 2020 with a Gold certificate from ReWorks SA. Speaking of 2020, Bruce has some yearly goals of his own- including nominating the other CPS Energy garages for a recycling certification. When asked about why others should recycle, he put it simply.
“To me, recycling is easy, it’s just placing recyclables in another trash can. If you have a service that can pick it up and it has an environmental benefit, why not just recycle.”