KPB started the first recycling program in Pearland in the early 80’s, taking limited items in the Lion’s Club parking lot on certain days of the week. In 1991, KPB urged the City of Pearland and current waste haulers to begin curbside recycling pickup once a week. And in 2004, the Stella Roberts Recycling Center opened to serve Pearland homeowners, apartment dwellers and businesses. Little did we know that we would end up being the only household hazardous waste facility in Brazoria County, serving residents across roughly 2,000 square miles.
On April 6, 2015 I was hired on as the Executive Director of KPB. Two weeks later, the City Manager approached me about taking over operations of the Recycling Center. Within 1 year this proposition became reality. The Center services over 40,000 customers and processes more than 800 tons each year. In the future we plan to host reuse workshops and open a resale store.
Shortly after TxDOT began the Don’t Mess With Texas campaign and Adopt-A-Highway program, KPB started our very own Adopt-A-Spot program. From 10 spots at inception to 70+ spots currently this all-volunteer program racks up some impressive numbers. Between this and our community service crew, 5,500 volunteer hours were spent picking up over 20,000 pounds of litter last year. This is why education is key. The more people we educate about the harmful effects of litter, the cleaner our community is!
Early KPB members laid the groundwork for a more beautiful city by implementing stricter ordinances. Now we are working on creative ways to stand out as a ‘destination city.’ A local art studio created a Pearland Mural on the side of a local business that encases clues of the history of Pearland. The Convention and Visitors Bureau paired local artists with sponsors to add 20 Painted Pears clustered around Pearland. We call it Pear-Scape! The mural and Pear-Scape sites have become popular photograph destinations. Also, Pearland Economic Development Corporation (PEDC) has been installing entry signage along major entrance corridors enhanced with landscaping and trees.
KPB maintains two gardens in Pearland, which serve two different purposes. The Yardwise Garden is home to over 60 different native and adaptive plants, labeled for education to residents. The Pearland Community Garden is a volunteer-run production garden where 100% of the produce is donated to a local food bank. Last year 1,200 pounds of produce was donated. Looking to the future, we plan to improve, expand, and promote both gardens to educate residents on gardening best practices.
I truly believe that kids are our future and the environment is no exception. In 1988, KPB organized a group called Kids in Pearland Preserving the Environment Through Responsible Service (KIPPERS). From winning state and national awards to reaching hundreds of middle school students every year, the KIPPERS program is designed to reach entire families by educating children. In 2017, we began the Youth Environmental Council comprised of local high school students. Their focus is to promote youth leadership and build confident, knowledgeable stewards of the environment. We not only give back to Pearland ISD by educating, we give back money! In 10 years, the Joe Miller (<- my dad) Environmental Scholarship Fund has given $72,000 to high school seniors in Pearland for higher education.
Here is my challenge. Being environmentally responsible is as easy as 1-2-3.
- Spend 1 hour per week in your garden or doing a beautification project.
- Since we all know the harmful effects, pickup 2 pieces of litter everyday.
- Always practice the 3 R’s: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.