Energy & Environment

Houston’s One Bin for All Proposal Divides Environmentalists

Deadline passes for six companies to submit innovative recycling proposals.

The City of Houston hopes to eventually do away with curbside recycling and allow residents to throw all of their trash and recycleables into one bin. The items would then be sorted and separated at a processing facility and city leaders claim they can divert 75 percent of the waste from landfills using this method.

But a group of environmentalists have formed a coalition against the plan. Texas Campaign for the Environment Program Director Melanie Scruggs says it will be a boondoggle for the city.

“There’s no way that they’re going to be able to divert 75 percent of waste from landfills with this type of technology. Our report shows that no facility that claims to separate recycling from trash has ever exceeded 30 percent recycling,” Scruggs said.

Proponents of the city’s plan says that information is outdated. Brian Yeoman is Houston’s C40 Cities Climate Leadership Director. He says new technology has already been proven in Europe and is emerging in the United States that dramatically reduces waste going into landfills.

“What the city proposes is to make use of the world’s best practices and application of technology,” Yeoman said.

Yeoman says the city will not move forward with the One Bin for All plan if the private companies submitting proposals can’t meet certain criteria. Those include cost-effectiveness, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and using technology that has a positive impact on the environment. City leaders say if they can’t achieve those goals, they will simply continue traditional curbside recycling.


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Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Executive Producer for News

Laurie Johnson leads daily news coverage for HPM. She helps reporters craft and sharpen their stories on tight deadlines, with the aim of getting the most relevant and current information into local newscasts. Laurie is a native Houstonian who started her career at Houston Public Media in 2002. She is...

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