Recycling sisters enlighten audience at Women in Business banquet

April 23, 2010

PLAINVIEW – “About 90 percent of the trash you throw away every day can be recycled,” said Heather Castagna, one half of the Lubbock business team called Green Queens.

Heather and her sister, Holly Rand Robertson, shared the story behind their curbside recycling pickup business as the keynote speakers at Thursday’s Women in Business Banquet at Wayland Baptist University, hosted by the Students in Free Enterprise team. Both former beauty pageant regulars, the sisters have traded their tiaras for trash bags in an effort to increase recycled materials, reduce the carbon footprint and increase the lifespan of Lubbock’s landfills.

“We’re trying to make recycling a little less intimidating,” said Castagna, noting that customers are not required to sort or rinse recyclables before collecting them in recycled bags they provide. Pickups are done twice monthly and the city divided into areas so pickups are done in the most efficient way to reduce fuel use and pollution.

The pair quickly detailed the materials they accept in their service, which includes everything from pizza boxes to glass bottles and magazines. Robertson said when her own family began collecting recyclables in their home they reduced the trash to one bag per week. The most common material collected is newspaper and cardboard, they noted, both of which are coincidentally the most prevalent materials in city landfills.

Robertson also noted that there is a misconception that recycling materials takes more energy than creating from raw materials, but the reverse is actually true. And recycling paper and aluminum – the biggest groups collected – saves much energy and natural resources like trees and water.

The Green Queens service four Lubbock apartment complexes, a dozen businesses and numerous residential customers in their first year alone and expect the business to continue to grow as residents become more aware of the need to conserve resources.

After their presentation, Dr. Otto Schacht, dean of the School of Business at Wayland, presented the Women in Business awards to three local ladies. Honorees included Tiffany Barnes, owner of Petals flower shop; Nicki Bruce Logan, lifestyles editor of the Plainview Daily Herald; and Kim Street, co-owner of Street Real Estate. All three are active in the community and are longtime residents of the area.

The fifth annual banquet – which honors women who have made an impact in the local business community – fell on the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, a national emphasis about conservation, recycling and environmental protection.