Solid Waste Management Department

Helium Tanks Recycling

Feet on the Street

Beginning May 3, 2021, Houston SWMD put "Feet on the Street" to monitor and tag recycling bins. The Cart-Tagging Project is supported by a grant from The Recycling Partnership and a solid waste reduction from the Houston-Galveston Area Council passed through from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and awarded to the department. The goal of the program is to improve the quantity and quality of recyclables collected in the curbside recycling cart. Currently, more than 35% of what is collected in the single-stream program is contamination. The contaminants include but are not limited to trash items with food residue, bagged recyclables, batteries and electronics, long tangler items such as cords, hoses and chains, yard waste, household items, scrap metal, scrap wood and shredded paper.

How it Works

Inspectors will visit a study area of 60,000 homes over a period of six months to observe the contents of residents’ recycling carts. If the visual inspection shows non-recyclables or trash in the cart, an Oops Tag will be attached to remind the residents of correct recyclables as well as the contaminant found. If the cart has non-accepted items in it, the resident will receive a warning tag like the one pictured below. Residents will receive one warning, and if on the next visit non-accepted items are found the resident will receive a red tag and the cart will not be collected. The cart will be re-checked the next collection cycle, and if the issue has been corrected the cart will be collected.

Oops! What to do if your recycling cart receives an Oops tag.
  • Remove the noted items and make sure that only empty, clean, dry cardboard, paper, metal cans, plastic bottles & jugs are placed loose in the recycling cart –do not bag recycling.
  • If you need help figuring out what is and is not accepted refer to ACCEPTED ITEMS Quick Guide.
  • Once your cart has been corrected remove the Oops tag from your cart and wait until your next service day to put your recycling cart at the curb. Your corrected recycling cart will be serviced.