Curbside Recycling to Continue but Glass no Longer Accepted in Bins

By | March 16, 2016
sylvester turner header

The City of Houston and Waste Management have reached tentative agreement on a new 2-year contract that will allow the city to continue offering recycling services without any disruption. The only change in service that Houstonians will notice is the elimination of glass from the list of items that are acceptable for placement in the green curbside single-stream recycling bins. Glass, currently has no value on the commodities market, breaks down during collection and transportation and is unduly destructive to the processing equipment.

Residents will still have the option of dropping off glass for recycling at the City’s neighborhood depositories.

In announcing the tentative agreement, Mayor Sylvester Turner thanked Waste Management and Houstonians for being willing to engage in shared sacrifice during a time of fiscal challenges. “This agreement makes good economic sense for the city and for Waste Management,” said Turner. “We want to reaffirm our commitment to recycling but we don’t want the city tied down to a long-term contract that we cannot afford.”

The new arrangement, which City Council will consider on March 23, offers $2 million in savings over other options that had been on the table.

The City’s 6 Neighborhood Depository/Recycling Centers are located at:

  • 9003 N. Main St. 77022
  • 14400 Sommermeyer 77041
  • 5565 Kirkpatrick 77028
  • 2240 Central Street 77017
  • 5100 Sunbeam 77033
  • 10785 SW Freeway 77074

More information on the hours of operation and the materials that are accepted at the Neighborhood Depositories/Recycling Centers is available at http://www.houstontx.gov/solidwaste/depositories.html

Watch Mayor Turner & Waste Management’s Press Conference for more information about this agreement and answers to questions about why we can no longer collect glass in the bins: https://youtu.be/Px4DpF6OcDE

One response to “Curbside Recycling to Continue but Glass no Longer Accepted in Bins”

  1. Radu Tutos

    I have heard with disbelief about the cancelation of the curbside glass recycling program.

    Convenient glass recycling is a basic service that any self-respecting city is providing these days. Removing it is just another example of the third-world level of services and infrastructure that the City of Houston is providing for its residents, and it only reinforces Houston’s reputation as a backward, second-rate city.

    The city administration presented this as a $2 million cost saving measure. That comes to about one dollar per resident. If the city is resorting to such desperate measures to save a resident like me one dollar, it’s hard not to start questioning where are my local tax being spent. Because they certainly are not spent to address basic services and infrastructure – aside, that is, from ill-conceived expansions of roads and freeways in the exurbs that only worsens our urban sprawl.

    And the city only adds insult to injury suggesting that Houstonians can chose to drop off their glass recyclables at one of the only six available recycling centers. For an individual resident to drive across Houston in order to drop off a small load of recyclables is not only hugely inconvenient, it also probably does more harm than good for the environment. This defeats the whole purpose of recycling.

    I question though if the city administration even understands what the purpose of recycling is, given that another justification for this decision was that glass has no value on the commodities market. I doubt anyone in the city administration bothered to check how long it takes for glass bottles to break down in the city’s landfills. It takes about 1 million years. But I know, why worry about that, when the city government can announce that one-dollar in cost savings today.

    You also made the point that glass is unduly destructive to the processing equipment. This might be news to your administration, but cities everywhere figured out glass recycling decades ago. So I am surprised to notice your administration is not embarrassed to admit that the city’s recycling contractor has not yet figured out how to recycle glass without breaking equipment.

    As I am reading the City of Houston’s press releases proudly proclaiming that Houstonians no longer have to trouble themselves with glass recycling, it’s hard not to wonder about the basic level of competency and good judgment of the city administrators.

    As a last note, the Mayor’s position on this issue is particularly disappointing in light of his numerous claims to support green initiatives in Houston. I believe they have a name for this. It’s called greenwashing.

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