Sprint Waste Gift to Fund Unique Sustainability Effort

Sprint Waste Services is proud to announce a $100,000 donation to the Texas Coastal Exchange will be used to sequester 5,000 tons of carbon dioxide in the bottomland hardwood forests of the Texas Coast and urban trees in the City of Houston. The Texas Coastal Exchange (TCX) says the sequestration program is the first of its kind on the Upper Texas Coast and possibly all of Texas.

The rural portion of Sprint Waste’s sequestration project will preserve a forest on the Pierce Ranch, approximately 70 miles southwest of downtown Houston along the Colorado River in Wharton County. The urban portion is still under development with a local environmental group, but is expected to address urban carbon reduction goals such as pathway shading and heat island minimization.

Will Swinbank, Sprint Waste Services partner and co-owner, said he’s excited for Sprint Waste to be involved in the sequestration program at such an early stage and applauded the creative efforts the Texas Coastal Exchange was formed to achieve. “Global warming is a complex and complicated issue that will take creative problem solving and action from all players,” Swinbank said. “The work of the Texas Coastal Exchange brings together landowners, corporations and organizations who seek to reduce their carbon footprints and uses the natural carbon cycle to address different goals and benefit all participants."

With origins in an ecological research project at  Rice University, TCX was formed in 2018 to compensate landowners for the services their natural ecosystems provide, such as removing carbon dioxide from the air, storing storm water, buffering hurricane surge, and providing habitat for fish and wildlife. In May, TCX announced its first payments to landowners for carbon dioxide removal and storage in Texas coastal marshes. The gift funds from Sprint Waste Services will allow the expansion of the TCX carbon sequestration program into forests, both rural and urban. 

More About the Sequestration Projects

In the face of climate change, many large corporations and smaller businesses are making the voluntary commitment to achieve a carbon-neutral impact within certain defined time frames. This TCX initiative, and those like it, will provide win-win situations, both preserving the open space of rural environments and providing businesses with carbon dioxide removal and storage strategies that allow them to better achieve their carbon-neutral goals along with other social and ecological goals.

Jim Blackburn, president of TCX and a Rice University professor of ecological law and sustainable design, said, “These two projects highlight carbon sequestration, ecology, historic preservation and equity considerations being integrated into projects with a whole greater than sum of their parts. Rural landowners, such as those of the Pierce Ranch, are challenged to keep large land areas intact; working with landowners to create new streams of revenue is a key focus of TCX. On the other hand, the urban project is an experiment for us — a chance to try our concepts and metrics in areas of Houston that have equity needs that can be addressed by carbon-capturing activities. This is a glimpse of how the future of urban conservation may unfold.” 

Sprint Waste owner and partner Joe Swinbank said he has been supportive of the TCX work for several years and is glad Sprint Waste is able to contribute in this way. “We at Sprint Waste are very supportive of the work of TCX in establishing a process for donations to secure carbon capture and storage using nature-based solutions in the region surrounding Houston as well as in urban areas,” he said. “Houston can and should be the center of thinking and action regarding carbon dioxide, and these solutions have the potential to be expanded and adapted across the United States.”

TCX board member Elizabeth Winston-Jones said the organization appreciated the donation and the opportunities it allowed for expansion and reaffirmation of TCX’s efforts. “Our goal from the beginning was to create a landowner-friendly system that could help keep these larger properties intact, along with the outstanding ecological services they provide to the community, by paying landowners for these services that have traditionally gone uncompensated,” she said. “We are appreciative of the donation by Sprint Waste that allowed us to expand into our region’s bottomland forests and undertake this very creative urban forestry project. The opportunities and synergies associated with our approach to carbon capture and storage are affirming that this new model has legs.” 

About the Texas Coastal Exchange

The Texas Coastal Exchange (TCX) was formed as a nonprofit corporation in 2018 from research at the Severe Storm Prediction, Education and Evacuation from Disaster (SSPEED) Center at Rice University and in 2019 began accepting donations for carbon footprint capture and storage. TCX requests a donation of $20 per ton of carbon dioxide captured and stored by participating landowners, of which $17 is provided as a grant to participating landowners and $3 is retained for administrative uses. TCX works with corporations, foundations, churches and civic organizations regarding larger-scale carbon capture projects.

Learn More or Donate to TCX

 

Aerial view of the Pierce Ranch in Wharton County, 70 miles southwest of downtown Houston.

 

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