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The world's largest shovel is more than a tourist attraction

CBS Austin
CBS Austin
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CREEDMOOR, Texas - The world's largest shovel draws visitors from all over, and the company that created the roadside attraction says it's a testament to its commitment to the environment.

With Earth Day 2023 coming up on April 22nd, you may be thinking of ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle.

There's one Central Texas company taking that mission to the extreme.

It's 40 feet tall, 7 feet wide, and weighs 5000 pounds. This is the world's largest shovel. So what's the story behind this oversized garden tool? CBS Austin's Chikage Windler decided to dig deeper and find out.

Creedmoor, Texas. Population 202. This tiny city just 15 miles south of Downtown Austin is actually a bit of a tourist attraction.

"Folks stop all the time, just to come by and take a picture," says Adam Gregory, Director of Corporate Business Development for Texas Disposal Systems.

"World's largest shovel. Guinness certified it in July 2014," says Chris Margraves, Organics Manager for Texas Disposal Systems.

"Everything's bigger in Texas! That was the intent, right?" asks Windler.

"Absolutely," says Gregory.

Adam Gregory says Texas Disposal Systems started small here on FM 1327 nearly 50 years ago.

"We're a family-owned business. We were founded with one employee and one truck in 1977. Over the years, we've grown to about 15 hundred employees," says Gregory.

The company takes in 100 percent of the City of Austin's residential trash and strives to turn it into treasure.

"Anything we can keep out of the landfill, that's our goal here," says Margraves.

Good example: acres of tree debris from our epic ice storm came here to get a second life.

"So we try to recycle everything we can around here. We think everything should live one, two, three, as many lives as possible," says Gregory.

"We'll make mulch out of it, we'll make compost out of it that's going to be used in our soil blends," explains Margraves.

You can buy the mulch, soil, and other recycled products at Garden-Ville stores.

A resale shop salvages other items to keep them out of the landfill as well.

"To responsibly use our resources, and be stewards of the environment," explains Gregory.

Which brings us back to the shovel.

"Everything's made out of recycled material. The metal lived its first life as a commercial garbage dumpster. The handle was a utility pole that we recycled from Autin Energy. It carried the power around the area," says Gregory.

So if you come to snap a shovel selfie, now you have the scoop on why this roadside attraction is such a big deal.

"People have come a long way when it comes to recycling and sustainability, but we have a long way to go, and we're here to help them," says Gregory.

If you'd like to visit the World's Largest Shovel, it's located at 3606 FM 1327, Creedmoor, Texas 78610 located right across from Garden-Ville

For more information on Texas Disposal Systems:

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This story aired on CBS Austin on April 15th, 2023 at 10 pm.

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