Houston Rejects Irrational Recycling Fad


Source of graph: online version of the NYT article quoted and cited below.

(p. A13) HOUSTON — While most large American cities have started ambitious recycling programs that have sharply reduced the amount of trash bound for landfills, Houston has not.
. . .
Landfill costs here are cheap. The city’s sprawling, no-zoning layout makes collection expensive, and there is little public support for the kind of effort it takes to sort glass, paper and plastics. And there appears to be even less for placing fees on excess trash.

“We have an independent streak that rebels against mandates or anything that seems trendy or hyped up,” said Mayor Bill White, . . .

For the full story, see:
ADAM B. ELLICK. “Houston Resists Recycling, and Independent Streak Is Cited.” The Wall Street Journal (Tues., July 29, 2008): A13.
(Note: ellipses added.)

3 thoughts on “Houston Rejects Irrational Recycling Fad”

  1. As practiced in my small town, recycling is not only an irrational fad but a feel-good farce as well.

    The first thing I noticed when recycling was made the rule here was that now we had three trucks going through town, stopping at every house once a week. With the old system, only one truck was needed. I asked the city council about the added use of fuel, pollution, danger to kids, etc. They had no answer but the ‘recycling was the future’.

    One afternoon I met the cat that drove one of the recycling trucks in a local bar. I asked him where he took his load of plastic and glass (the other recycling truck was for paper and cardboard). His answer: “I take it to the landfill and dump it, same as the regular garbage truck.”

    Complaints about this dishonest business were answered by assertions that we needed to be ‘trained’ to sort out our trash so that we would comply when ‘real recycling’ became feasible.

    I guess that was what they meant when they said “recycling was the future.”

  2. PTG: you are not alone in your finding. I worked at a huge global food company for many years. In each office area and around the plant there were recycling bins for people to put paper and pop bottles. I noticed one day when the trash guy came around that he dumped the trash and recycling into the same container. He told me we quit recycling years ago because we had to pay someone to take the recyclables. They never got rid of the separate recycle bins because the do-gooders would have a fit.

  3. Very interesting indeed. I am in the scrap metal recycling business and in the past year or two the rules and regulations of Harris County and then now the City of Houston have tightened CONSIDERABLY! It has gotten harder for the average Joe to just pick up material and turn it in to the scrap yards for processing. Lets face it, in Houston, most of the laborers are illegal alien Mexican immigrants (I really tried to phrase that in the most appropriate way, really) and they are the ones left having to deal with the demolition of buildings and cleanups. The trouble is that most of them do not have id’s and therefore ship the material out of the city to less regulated areas. I know, I’ve had to turn away all that business at my scrap yard. Well, hope it sheds a light on another perspective. Blah, blah enough. 🙂

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