One Bin For All

Project Background and Timeline

In 2012 the City of Houston submitted a proposal to the Bloomberg Mayors Challenge suggesting that a facility could be built in Houston that would mechanically and biologically segregate Houston’s residential trash into its recyclable and energy components from one trash bin.

As Houston works toward developing and implementing the best new technologies to automate separation of trash, recyclables, and compostables, Houston’s curbside recycling program is expanding, with 70% of households being provided with access to single-stream curbside recycling by Spring 2014. Unfortunately most of the City’s potential recyclables still go to landfills.

Houston’s recycling rate has been historically low – mainly because there is no dedicated fee for residential solid waste services. The current waste diversion rate is 17%, with just 6% resulting from recycling and the remainder from the recovery of yard waste. Despite decades of focus and education on recycling, the national average is not that much better at 34%. However, innovation offers new, better ways to recover assets from the waste stream that do not involve relying on the consumer to separate recyclables from trash.

On March 13, 2013 the City was awarded a $1 million prize from the Bloomberg Challenge for the Mayor’s vision for this project. This award money is being used to develop detailed plans to bring Mayor Parker’s bold vision of curbside recycling and diversion for every Houstonian to reality and offer best practices to other municipalities considering similar projects.

On June 12, 2013 a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) was issued by the City looking for qualified private sector partners to work with. Additionally, a Request for Proposal (RFP) has been issued to find a consulting group to perform a third-party waste characterization and composition study to determine the composition and estimated volume of component parts of Houston’s residential waste stream.

On August 22, 2013, the City received Statements of Qualification (SOQ) in response to the Request for Qualifications from 11 potential private sector vendors. An evaluation committee reviewed those SOQ’s.

On August 29, 2013, the City received proposals from two consulting groups in response to the Waste Characterization and Composition Study RFP that was issued by the City. This study will analyze and document the components of the City’s residential waste stream to help the City and a selected development partner create detailed plans to meet the Mayor’s goals.

On December 18, 2013, the City Council approved a contract with Cascadia Consulting Group ( to perform and extensive study of the City’s residential waste to determine the percentages of recyclable materials that could be available.  The final report for this study is expected in April 2014.

On April 11, 2014, a Request for Proposals (RFP) was issued by the City. Only those Proposers that were short-listed from RFQ S10-Q24644 are invited to participate in this RFP.

On July 10, 2014, the City received five proposals in response to the RFP S10-T24905.  The proposals   are currently under review by the evaluation committee.