Community Recycling Program Launches at El Paso Sam's Club Locations

July 25, 2022

2 Min. Read

Texan by Nature (TxN) and Texans for Clean Water (TFCW) launched a 6-month pilot project to recycle PET thermoform plastics in collaboration with Sam's Club in El Paso. This project is a fundamental step in TxN and TFCW’s goal of reducing litter in waterways and roadways through community-driven recycling. The project will provide El Pasoan’s cash incentives for PET thermoforms recycled at all four Sam’s Club locations in El Paso. PET thermoforms include clear fruit and produce containers, trays, tubs, cups, lids, plastic egg cartons, etc.. Data and outcomes from the project will be shared with other retailers as a model for replication and an example of supply chain circularity.

"Litter and illegal dumping cost the city of El Paso $6M per year. This pilot has a goal of recycling 110,000 lbs of PET plastics over six months, keeping it off roadways and out of waterways," says Joni Carswell, CEO, and President at TxN. "This collaboration between the citizens of El Paso, Texans for Clean Water, and Sam’s Club will build on prior models of providing financial incentives for material return that have been successful in reducing litter and waste."

Fully funded by Texans for Clean Water, the project dovetails with other litter research initiatives and public policy outreach. A leader in collaborative conservation initiatives, Texan by Nature is managing the pilot and working closely with community partners on messaging, education, and promotion of the pilot.

In North America alone, 1.6 billion lbs of PET thermoforms are discarded every year with only about 10% being recovered. For this pilot project, consumers will use the MeCycle App to drop off their PET thermoforms and receive cash incentives that they can claim through Venmo or donate to a local El Paso charity. Green Impact Plastics will recycle the thermoforms and then the recycled materials will be used in new packaging by manufacturer D6. To help improve the circularity of its supply chain, Sam’s Club will also explore opportunities to use the recycled packaging for some of its products.


"This pilot is focusing on PET thermoforms, but it could be translated to other materials. Point being, people don't toss loose change out car windows and will still stop to pick up a dime off the sidewalk," says Maia Corbitt, President of Texans for Clean Water. "Plus, getting this material back supports Texas' recycling industry and we're proud to champion projects that are a win-win for the environment and economy."