SWMD Director


About Harry J. Hayes, Director

Harry Hayes


In August 2007, Mayor Bill White and City Council unanimously confirmed North Operations Deputy Director, Harry J. Hayes, as the director of Houston's Solid Waste Management Department. As Director, Hayes oversees a $65.5 million budget and is responsible for solid waste services to approximately 423,000 households, of which 376,820 homes are directly serviced by the City of Houston Solid Waste Management Department. In addition to garbage collection services, Director Hayes has oversight of the Curbside Recycling program, the Yard Trimmings recycling program, the Tree Waste/Junk Waste collection, Dead Animal collection, the operation of the Neighborhood Depository/Recycling Centers, Westpark Recycling Center as well as a variety of recycling facilities and 3 transfer stations. He is also responsible for the City of Houston's debris management operations.

During his tenure as the Solid Waste Management Department Director, Hayes has led the department through record breaking debris recovery efforts. Hurricane Ike generated a debris field that covered the city's 640 square miles with more than 5.4 million cubic yards of debris damage when the storm made landfall in the Houston area, September of 2008. Under his leadership, city and contracted forces collected more than 72% of the storm debris within the first 30 days of operations. In addition to collecting the debris in record fashion, Hayes' efforts also led to the largest recycling project in Texas where 100% of all vegetative debris collected was recycled.
Mr. Hayes has also expanded the city's recycling efforts with the addition of two Neighborhood Depository / Recycling Center sites, a new Reuse Warehouse, 105,000 new homes with Automated Recycling Collection, Tree Waste Collection and Diversion and the Yard Waste Diversion Program (Compostable Bags).


A fiscal hawk with taxpayers' money, Mr. Hayes has reinvented Houston's solid waste services while cutting the department's budget by millions of dollars through performance, operational efficiencies and contract renegotiations. The city recently signed a renegotiated contract for waste disposal and transfer station management which has reduced the city's disposal payments by more than $70 million over the term of the new agreement and more than $150 million lower than the previous contract term.

Hayes is a 19-year City employee, including a stint as special assistant to former City Council Member Rodney Ellis. He is a 1988 graduate of Texas Southern University and a 1985 Connaissance de la France graduate of the Universitie de Bordeaux in Talence, France. Hayes served as both an enlisted member and an officer in the U.S. Army Reserves, where his work assignments included human resources, operations and supply management.

Harry J. Hayes is married and has 3 children.




A Letter from Director Hayes

Director Hayes




The City of Houston is the 4th largest city in the United States and is one that is diverse in so many aspects: people, culture, housing and the weather to name a few. Unlike most major cities, the city of Houston does not charge a user fee for residential garbage or other solid waste services. Therefore, wise management of solid waste services in a tight economy is critical. The Solid Waste Management Department has an annual budget of approximately $65.5 million dollars that is funded by the City's General Fund with monies generated from property taxes. Thirty-one percent (31%) of the department's budget funds disposal at area landfills. The City of Houston does not have its own landfill.

On this site, you will find information about the wide spectrum of solid waste services we provide and the guidelines pertaining to these services. We also post every neighborhood's schedule on this site, as well as the holiday collection schedule and helpful numbers and links.
The Solid Waste Management Department serves over 376,820 Houston homes with garbage, yard trimmings, and tree waste/junk waste collection. We offer every Houstonian the opportunity to recycle through the provision of recycling drop-off sites or through curbside recycling to 205,000 households. We also span a 640 square-mile area with dead animal collection on City streets. We offer six Neighborhood Depositories/Recycling Centers for tree waste/junk waste drop-off and recycling. 

We encourage everyone to practice the 3R’s. That is to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Check to see if there is a way you can donate the reusable items to charity or to a friend before disposing of unwanted goods.  Our signature recycling site, the Westpark Consumer Recycling Center, is a drive-through drop-off site which accepts used motor oil and oil filters, used tires, residential computers and other electronic scrap, glass bottles and jars, newspaper, aluminum and tin cans, magazines, corrugated cardboard, batteries, latex paint, plastic containers, styrofoam blocks and anti-freeze in addition to the multiple recycling drop-off sites we offer around Houston.

Be sure to take extra precaution when handling common household chemicals. The City of Houston offers a safe and environmentally-friendly manner to dispose of household hazardous waste and electronic scrap at its two Environmental Service Centers. 

As we look to the future, we must do what is necessary to minimize the waste that is being produced and what is currently going into the area landfills.

The department has implemented two programs to reduce and divert waste from area landfills. The Tree Waste/Junk Waste program collects tree waste exclusively during odd months instead of the junk waste that is ordinarily collected and the second program is the Yard Trimmings program which requires city-approved compostable bags for yard trimmings collection.  The compostable bags containing grass clippings and yard leaves are then composted into mulch which is available at local hardware stores and Living Earth facilities.

These programs will help us preserve landfill space, save tax dollars by avoiding landfill tipping fees and offering reuse for the materials collected. 



To remain a viable choice for solid waste service delivery, our department chooses to:


  • Explore cost-effective environmental friendly options to conserve natural resources and preserve landfill space.
  • Remain responsive and flexible to meet the needs of its regular customers.
  • Seek continuous improvements to reduce the cost of operations.
  • Forge strategic partnerships with public, private and civic groups in the greater Houston community.
  • Continue to hire, train and promote dedicated workers.



Houston is a beautiful place to reside. We want to leave our children and grandchildren with a safe, clean place to live. We look forward to working with and for you in leaving a "green" legacy.



Harry J. Hayes