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Houston Faces Opposition to One Bin Trash Plan

One bin for allHouston’s One Bin for All trash plan, touted by the city as the next evolution in recycling, may be facing some opposition by a coalition of groups who do not agree with the program’s proposed environmental value.

Houston’s One Bin for All plan would allow Houston residents to place all trash, recyclables, and compostables in one bin, which it says would provide for a much higher rate of resource recovery.

The city cites the goals of the project to include significantly increasing diversion and decreasing the amount of waste sent to landfills, allowing all residents to simply put their discarded materials into one bin (excluding heavy trash, e-waste and household hazardous waste), protecting air quality by reducing greenhouse gas emissions caused by organic materials in landfills, stimulating community interest in and responsibility for reducing, reusing and recycling, and creating jobs.

However, Zero Waste Houston, a coalition including Texas Campaign for the Environment, Sierra Club Houston Regional Group, Houston Peace and Justice Center, and Dr. Robert Bullard, a founder of GreenAction, have come together in opposition to the city’s plan. On July 10 they plan to release a report titled “It’s Smarter to Separate,” at a press conference near Houston City Hall.

Zero Waste Houston asserts that gasification has never worked on trash in the US, and that it creates air pollution similar to more traditional mass burn incinerators. They point out that single bin technologies have never achieved the 75 percent recycling rate sought by the Mayor’s plan because of high contamination rates.

The group is proposing that Houston instead adopt a single-stream approach, expanding the use of large green bins for each home and focusing on education to improve recycling over time. The group also points out that other cities are implementing zero waste plans successfully.

Houston’s One Bin for All plan was the winner of a $1 million prize from Bloomberg Philanthropies as part of the Mayors Challenge, a contest rewarding innovation in American cities.

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2 thoughts on “Houston Faces Opposition to One Bin Trash Plan

  1. Don’t mix our trash and recycling! It is common sense, when you mix trash and recycling into the same container it is no longer a recycling bin, it is a trash bin. Cities such as Dallas, Austin , and San Antonio achieve better recycling rates than us! I think the city is looking for an easy fix to the problem. We all like easy solutions to our problems, the difference here is that the easy “fix” is not actually a “fix” it is a step in the wrong direction. I am urging the city of Houston to give everyone a big green bin for recycling , not for trash.

  2. This is a huge backward step. It promotes the previous mentality of “put it at the curb and it will “go away””. This is the ultimate single stream but the wrong way. You know that ALL ALL (sic) waste will be included (e.g. Ewaste and HHW as well) will end up in the stream. Everyone needs to participate in the solution of extending landfills, recouping mineral resources…)

    I would rather see a little bit of free labor at each and every household than to see a municipal/regional sorting facility that would be a cost to the towns, cities, regions (designing, building, transporting and sorting…..) tim,.,

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