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Solid Waste Management

Press Release


March 11, 2009 -- Houston Mayor Bill White joined by Solid Waste Management Department Director Harry Hayes and community leaders gathered at City Hall to announce the launching of the new Automated Recycling Pilot Program.  The pilot program begins March 12, 2009 and will run for one year. It will be tested in the following eight neighborhoods:  Lindale Park, Meyerland, Old Sixth Ward, Oakbrook, Pinebrook, Pineloch, Riverwood Estates, and Westbury.

Mayor White said, “This is one of the various efforts that the City has implemented to work toward a more environmentally-sound and cost-effective practice.  We expect great results.”

Under the new pilot program, curbside recycling service will change from manual collection to automated collection.  Each of the approximately 10,000 homes participating in the pilot program received one 96-gallon green automated cart similar to the black automated garbage can.  Participants will still be able to put all of their unsorted recyclables into one city-provided container.

Although the cart is much bigger than the 18-gallon green bin currently used in the Curbside Recycling Program, it has wheels, making it much easier to move the recyclables to the curb.  Also, the cart has a lid which contains the recyclables and keeps them from getting wet. Printed on the lid is a list of the items that can go in the cart.  This new service allows participants to recycle glass, which was not previously collected curbside. The recyclables will be taken to the Abitibi Bowater facility that has automated sorting capabilities.

This new service makes it easier for residents to recycle; thereby increasing recycling and helping the City divert waste from landfills.  Collection costs are reduced because collection is automated, collection routes are serviced more efficiently and worker injuries are expected to decrease because of automated collection.

Solid Waste Management Department Director Hayes reinforced the message that the green recycling cart must not be used as a trash can.  “No garbage, yard trimmings, trash, food or hazardous waste should be placed in the cart. No plastic bags, meat trays, pizza boxes, styrofoam or broken glass can be accepted because of contamination.  Only those items indicated on the cart lid are acceptable,” said Director Hayes.

The following items can be placed in the green cart: 

Newspaper Plastic Containers 1 through 7 (rinsed & drained)
Magazines Aluminum and Tin Cans (rinsed & drained)
Catalogs Cardboard (flattened)
Phone Books Glass Bottles and Jars (rinsed & drained)

The Solid Waste Management Department provides solid waste service to the citizens of Houston through the collection, disposal and recycling of discarded material in a manner that is safe, efficient, environmentally sound and cost-effective.