Mandy Reyes wants to create a culture of sustainability in Sugar Land.
Reyes, a Sugar Land resident for eight years, was born and raised in El Salvador, where she said people are not as motivated to reduce, reuse and recycle.
“When I came to the States, I realized people are more encouraged to do that over here, and I started to make small changes for myself,” Reyes said. “Because of that, my husband and I actually saw the reduction of trash in our house.”
This ignited Reyes’ passion for sustainability. And after convincing her mom and some coworkers to make changes to create a more sustainable lifestyle, her husband told her about the opportunity to get involved with the City of Sugar Land’s newly-created Solid Waste Task Force.
The Solid Waste Task Force is a resident group appointed by Sugar Land City Manager Michael Goodrum to develop recommendations for the future of solid waste and recycling in Sugar Land.
“The Solid Waste Task Force was created to provide an opportunity for residents to guide the future of solid waste,” City of Sugar Land Environmental Manager Georgia Tate said. “(It) was created to help us develop guiding principles that City staff and City Council can use to develop and implement solid waste and recycling programs now and in the future.”
The Solid Waste Task Force is participating in discussions regarding the development, review and prioritization of solid waste program goals. Next, the group will use the identified goals to determine strategies and make a recommendation to the City regarding trash and recycling service levels that should be included in the City’s next solid waste contract. The resident-led task force is currently meeting weekly to ensure that the City’s solid waste programs align with community expectations.
“We’re asking the task force to explore a variety of ideas and let us know these are the services we want provided to us and our neighbors,” Tate said.
While the task force consists of residents representing various neighborhoods and HOAs throughout the City, Task Force Chair Jack Molho wants to make sure more residents than just those who have been appointed have a voice.
Select households will receive a statistically-valid survey distributing questions created by the Solid Waste Task Force to gauge true resident sentiment on the solid waste program in Sugar Land. An Online Town Hall will be available for all residents to ensure all residents have the opportunity to leave feedback on how they feel the Solid Waste program should prioritized in our community.
“Residents shouldn’t live in a vacuum,” Molho, who has lived in Sugar Land for 37 years, said. “We are blessed to have folks that represent us because they truly represent us as a community. That’s why it’s important for them to fill out the survey and tell us what they really want.”
An online town hall will also be scheduled later this year to gain additional feedback from the community.
“Don’t be afraid to participate,” Molho said. “If we don’t hear from other residents, we don’t know what you want. It’s not just about complaints. You may as well be the next Tesla. If you have an idea and you don’t share it, how are we going to know?”
For Reyes, this is her first time volunteering for the City. She had looked at other opportunities in the past, but when this one came up, she was excited to dive in and help lend her voice as a resident.
“I wanted the opportunity to give my knowledge but also provide some insight in what I would like as a member of the community,” Reyes said. “One of the most important things is being able to educate people and have resources available.”
Reyes also stressed the importance of varied perspectives the Solid Waste Task Force members have. This affects the recommendations the group will make on behalf of the Sugar Land community.
“All the people that are volunteering there have our own individual focus,” Reyes said. “Some are financial, some are environmental, and some are educational. All those components help the community have an understanding of how the City will grow and the changes that it’s making.”
Please visit https://www.sugarlandtx.gov/2079/Notify-Me if you would like to receive updates as the Solid Waste Task Force evaluates resident feedback and develops recommendations for the future of solid waste and recycling.
For more information on the Solid Waste Task Force, visit https://www.sugarlandtx.gov/2127/Solid-Waste-Task-Force. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 311 or 281-275-2900.