Environmental Quality Component

Over the past 50 years, Plano has experienced rapid growth in land area and population. This growth presents challenges in protecting the natural environment. The future success of cities will be judged by their ability to address these environmental challenges, becoming more resilient in the community’s form and function.

Trash CleanupBluebonnetsCouple Walking

  1. Waste Minimization
    Background: Minimizing waste also improves the environmental quality of our community and conserves natural resources by saving energy, reducing landfills, and improving air quality. Diverting waste from landfills through recycling and composting efforts is a priority for the city. In 1999, with a 5% recycling diversion rate, the Plano City Council created a 40% citywide diversion goal. By the end of 2013, the city was recycling over 37% of all waste; a greater percentage than the state and national average. Several outreach and educational programs offered by the City have resulted in this increase and encourage citizens to recycle. It includes the Minimal Waste Program and Litter Cleanup Days. The commercial construction and demolition program, created in 2009, has been one of the most successful recycling initiatives to date. This program requires a refundable deposit as a financial incentive to recycle debris from building projects. As a result, construction and demolition recycling has increased over 170% and has significantly contributed to the city’s diversion rate. The City of Plano also supports large-scale composting as part of a regional council or coalition of cities. Yard trimmings and clean wood are processed to create compost materials marketed as Texas Pure products and sold at a discounted rate to Plano residents. To conserve environmental resources, Plano will reduce the overall disposal of solid waste and increase reuse and recycling.
  1. Open Space & Natural Resource Conservation
    Background: Plano’s open space preserves and natural resources are extremely important for residents. Three of the region’s most desired nature preserves are located in Plano and dedicated to providing leisure amenities as well as protecting the community’s wildlife. As Plano continues to redevelop, dedicating open space and preserving natural resources are imperative to enhance the health of people, wildlife, and our ecosystems. Land is a limited resource and available open space must be strategically expanded to provide for a growing community.
    Another initiative to improve the environmental quality of our community is to establish and maintain an abundant tree canopy. Trees create shade, providing comfortable outdoor pedestrian environments during hot summer months and reducing energy usage in buildings. A healthy tree canopy can help lower higher temperatures found in cities, often referred to as heat islands. Heat absorbed from sunlight is retained by man-made structures, creating areas of higher temperatures. At night, developed areas of the city continue to radiate heat stored during the day. It keeps temperatures as much as 10-15 degrees warmer than areas outside the city. The warmer temperatures can also attribute to more frequent ozone air pollution days and greater health impacts. Having a tree canopy and green spaces are critical to combating these heat effects. Plano will protect open spaces, conserve natural resources, and maintain the city’s urban forest to improve air quality and the health of Plano’s citizens.