Houston Expands Recycling Budget

Houston has the dubious distinction of being one of the worst major cities when it comes to recycling.But this week members of city council approved an ordinance that will supply a steady stream of revenue to expand recycling efforts. Laurie Johnson reports.

The aptly, if not thrillingly, titled Recycling Revenue Fund will set aside an extra $1 million annually for recycling.

Council member Anne Clutterbuck says as recycling increases, the amount of waste going into landfills decreases. And that saves money for the city.

“We have a tremendous, I dare say, a crisis on our hands with the limited amount of landfill space in close proximity to the City of Houston. And every time that we fill the landfills with garbage that doesn’t need to be there we jeopardize our capacity, we force our trucks to travel farther and acquire more land or more lease space.”

The city’s goal is to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills by 20 percent.

Mayor Bill White says the funds for the expanded budget will come from the sale of recyclable materials. So basically city recycling will fund more city recycling.

“Our goal is that if the department can figure out ways to make more money from recycling, that it ought to be ploughed back into recycling.”

The boost to the recycling budget comes just weeks after a blistering New York Times article criticized Houston’s recycling record. White maintains that article did not accurately represent the city’s recycling rates.

Laurie Johnson. KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.


Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson


Laurie is a native Houstonian who started her career at Houston Public Media in 2002. Laurie has covered a wide variety of topics for HPM, including the crash of the Space Shuttle Columbia, Hurricanes Katrina and Ike, and numerous elections. She is a frequent contributor to NPR and has been...

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