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Posts Tagged ‘Solid Waste Management Department’


Really interesting story about a place most of us would not think to visit. The open face of the Atascocita landfill in Humble slopes downward, where trucks unload the cast-off scraps of daily life. Bulldozers spread the debris to a depth of a few feet before trucks with spiked tires take turns compacting the heap, […]

Fighting illegal dumping

Illegal dumping of trash is a huge problem in some Houston neighborhoods. Enforcement is especially tricky because unless you catch someone in the act, there’s little to no evidence to go on. One way to help catch dumpers in the act is with cameras at locations where dumping frequently occurs. Council Member Jerry Davis has […]

Saving money by throwing away less

Good strategy all around. As a committee mulls an ambitious and controversial “one bin” project that could overhaul recycling and waste collection in Houston, the city’s traditional mode of getting rid of trash just got cheaper. A renegotiated contract with the city’s primary waste hauler, approved by City Council late last month with little fanfare […]

Rest of the single stream bins to be distributed

All Houston homes will be covered. All Houston residents who get city trash service will be able to roll their recyclables to the curb in 96-gallon green carts by the start of 2015, a milestone that has been years in the making as the city slowly expanded the program, frustrating neighborhoods that sought to be […]

San Antonio has begun curbside recycling of plastic bags

As of August 1, to be exact. “We are starting with a new recycling processor that can accept the bags so that allows us to add it to the list of items we can accept,” [Solid Waste Management Department Public Relations Manager Tiffany] Edwards said, adding that the move gives San Antonians another option to […]

It’s past time for a garbage fee

Yes, this. For years, Houston’s Solid Waste Management Department Director Harry Hayes has suggested the city implement a garbage fee to expand curbside recycling and pay for other initiatives. And for years, Mayor Annise Parker has demurred. Now, with a looming budget deficit that could force widespread layoffs and cuts to services, the idea may […]

Another expansion of single stream recycling

From the inbox: Mayor Annise Parker and Harry J. Hayes, Director of the Solid Waste Management Department (SWMD), are pleased to announce the addition of 62,000 to the City’s popular automated curbside recycling program. As part of the expansion, residents in neighborhoods throughout Houston will receive a new 96-gallon green automated cart similar to the […]

Recycling cartons

More curbside recycling options. Houstonians accustomed to throwing out glossy cardboard cartons of milk, juice, soup and others foods and beverages now can send them to the curb in a green container for recycling. The Carton Council, a consortium of carton manufacturers, has helped the city’s existing paper recycling processors purchase equipment that will keep […]

Recycle that cooking oil

A public service announcement from the city. The holidays are upon us and that means cooking turkeys, hams and other foods that either require cooking oils to prepare or that generate a surplus of grease when cooked. Used cooking oils and greases, when disposed down the kitchen drain, cool, harden and clog the pipes. Diluting […]

The next wave of curbside recycling

From last week, some good news for those of who that still don’t have the 96-gallon wheeled recycling bins. Houston will roll out its biweekly, automated curbside recycling service to 70,000 additional residences throughout the city just in time for Thanksgiving, the Department of Solid Waste Management announced [last] Friday. The expansion will bring service […]

Next wave of recycling bins approved

From last week: City Council on Wednesday OK’d funding to complete efforts to double the number of 96-gallon green recycling bins parked at city curbs, but it is unclear which 70,000 homes will be next to receive the service. […] The delay in naming which neighborhoods will be part of the second expansion comes from […]

Going after the dumpers

Glad to see this. City Council District B will be the site of a pilot program in which five surveillance video cameras have been placed in undisclosed locations, [Mayor Annise] Parker announced. The cameras will be monitored in real time by the Houston Police Department’s Environmental Investigations Unit, which will relay information about illegal dumping […]

If you want your trash to be collected

It’s best to put your trash can where the automated pickup arm can get it. Last year, at least 9,000 trash cans in the city were left uncollected at some point, according to records kept by the city, a small percentage of the total number of bins emptied in a year, but enough to slow […]

City seeks One Bin For All RFQs

Calling all vendors. The city of Houston took a step forward on its “One Bin for All” project this week. The project would allow residents to discard trash and recyclables in one bin to be sorted at a new $100 million facility, which would be built and run by a private firm. On June 12, […]

Compost that Christmas tree

Let your Christmas tree do some good after you get rid of it. When that Christmas tree comes down this year, take a moment to imagine its next incarnation: Chipped up and mixed into soil, it might soon secure new grasses along some South Texas highway or sustain vegetable starts in someone’s garden. Adding weathered […]

One bin to rule them all

This would be an innovative approach to deal with Houston’s unacceptably low recycling rate. Under what is being called “Total Reuse: One Bin for All,” residents would wheel everything to the curb in one barrel and let the city sort it out. If Houston can find a private-sector partner to help it build what could […]

Recycle that polystyrene

From the Inbox: Polystyrene Foam Recycling Available Beginning Monday, June 25, 2012 Beginning Monday, June 25, 2012, the City of Houston will accept clean block style or packaging polystyrene foam at the Westpark Recycling Center, 5900 Westpark, Houston 77057 and the Environmental Service Center South, 11500 South Post Oak Lane, Houston 77045.  Residents can drop off […]

Going green to save some green

The city of Houston has made significant investments in energy savings. The U.S. Conference of Mayors named Mayor Annise Parker the winner of Mayors’ Climate Protection Award last year for green building initiatives that incentivize conservation and energy-efficient design features. “We don’t do it just because we get attention. We do it because it’s been […]

Recycle your Christmas tree

And now, a message from the City of Houston Solid Waste Department:   The City of Houston (COH) Solid Waste Management Department will embark on its 21st year of Christmas tree recycling(.pdf) after the holiday by providing recycling drop-off sites throughout Houston. All drop-off sites will be closed on New Year’s Day. Every year, Houstonians discard thousands […]

Recycling for apartments coming to Houston

Last December I noted a program in San Antonio to expand recycling to apartment complexes. I said at the time that I hoped Houston would do the same as it broadens its recycling capabilities. I’m glad to say that late last week I received this press release from the Houston Apartment Association: The City of […]

The landfills of Waller County

There are three things I find remarkable about this story about a proposed landfill in Waller County, near Hempstead. A Georgia-based company wants to build a landfill and industrial park just outside the city on Texas 6 and Kelley, on what is now 723 acres of private property known as the Deywood Ranch. Officials with […]

The long-term recycling deal

I noticed this when it was posted last week but didn’t give it much thought at the time. There’s a 20-year no-bid contract on today’s City Council agenda. That’s legal because it’s an amendment to an existing contract, not a new contract. But it’s still got Councilman Ed Gonzalez‘s attention. He tagged it last week […]


The city of Austin is looking for more ways to reduce the amount of solid waste that it puts in landfills. Aiming to cut down the waste that Austinites send to landfills, the City of Austin is sponsoring free composting classes through the summer. With roughly half the garbage sent to landfills made up of […]

Deal to sell Center Street recycling center delayed

In addition to the Convention Center deal, the proposed sale of the Center Street recycling facility for $2 million was also on Council’s agenda for Wednesday. Two years ago the city had planned to sell the center and relocate it to the First Ward. Some First Ward civic leaders objected, and the sale was never […]

On garbage fees and single stream recycling

You might have seen this blurb a few days ago about Solid Waste director Harry Hayes making a pitch to Mayor Parker to expand single stream recycling to every home in Houston: To reach 100 percent, Hayes told City Council today, would require a $3.50 monthly garbage fee. Houston is among the only major U.S. […]

More single stream recycling

I love seeing this program get expanded. The city is expanding by 30,000 the number of households that can participate in its single-stream recycling program, which soon is expected to reach more than one out of every four Houston homes. The automated program allows citizens to place glass, paper, plastic containers, aluminum and cardboard into […]

Compostable bag update

The city has decided to not begin fining people just yet for not using the new biodegradable bags for yard waste. I agree that most people just need clear instructions and reasonably durable bags to do this, and I’m glad to see that behavior has already changed quite dramatically: Before the program was implemented earlier […]

Recycling pilot project update

As you know, Monday was the day that the new compostable bag ordinance went into effect. It was also the day that the city’s automated recycling program was to be extended to many more houses. From a story in the Houston Business Journal last month: The City of Houston is making its biggest expansion to […]

How about a plastic bag tax?

A number of cities have adopted or considered adding a small tax to plastic bags as a means to raise a little money and cut down on landfill waste. Kevin Drum notes the experience of the Washington, DC nickel-per-bag tax, for which revenues, which are dedicated to the cleanup of the Anacostia River, have been […]

More recycling coming

Good news. The city is poised to expand its automated recycling program to an additional 50,000 households, allowing roughly 1 in 5 Houstonians the opportunity to put paper, plastic, soda cans and glass into one wheeled trash-can-sized bin instead of a garbage can. […] About $2.8 million in federal stimulus dollars paid for the new […]

Biodegradable bag requirement postponed

Implementation of the new city ordinance requiring biodegradable bags for yard waste has been pushed back until April. The new start date is April 5, which is after the last major fall of leaves for the season, said Harry Hayes, the city’s solid waste director. By then, there should be more than enough of the […]

Yard waste

I hadn’t realized that an ordinance requiring bbiodegradable bags for yard waste had been passed, but I like it. Under the ordinance, the city will not collect yard waste in plastic bags, and will fine residents up to $2,000 for putting leaves and clippings in garbage bins. Plastic bags, made from petroleum, are sturdy and […]

Recycle thyself

I suppose I had assumed that the city of Houston was already collecting recyclables separately from trash. Apparently, that was not the case, but it will be now. The Solid Waste Management Department has implemented programs at breakneck speed to allow residents to recycle tree waste and empty various recyclables — including paper, plastic, even […]