Garbage Program Still ‘Absolutely Doable,’ says Mayor Parker

GARBAGE PROGRAM STILL ‘ABSOLUTELY DOABLE,’ SAYS MAYOR PARKER So Houston’s “One Bin for All” idea didn’t win the $5 million grand prize in Mayor Bloomberg’s philanthrophic challenge — but it did tie for second. And that means $1 million will be coming Houston’s way, along with $50,000 extra for being so darn lovable and winning the “fan favorite” vote online. And what’s the city going to do with all this dough? The Houston Chronicle’s Carol Christian reports that the consolation prizes might be just enough to get the program off the ground: Though the idea to combine garbage, recycling, and yard waste into one big bin for mechanized sorting later has been around for awhile, Mayor Parker says, “This award will allow us the seed money to begin the process . . . We have thoroughly researched the technology. It’s absolutely doable.” Construction on a new sorting facility could begin as early as 2014, reports Christian. [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Photo of recycling bin in the Heights: Charles Kuffner

18 Comment

  • And just think of all the extra money that will need to be spent sorting through all of the garbage. Think of the carbon footprint of the machinery that will have to sort what is garbage and what is recyclable. Think of how much water will have to be used to clean garbage waste off recyclable materials. I once read using our current rate of consumption all the garbage in the US over the next 1,000 years would fill up a 35 square mile landfill 100 yards deep.

  • Kickstarter? At the first donation level, you get two free hours ata downtown parking meter.

  • In Corpus we have a full-sized bin for garbage, and another full-sized, wheeled bin for recycle. Works fine. But those tiny little green things in Houston are a joke. Recyles are picked up bi-weekly and it seems to work fine. We compost a lot of our organic garbage since we don’t use a disposal.

  • And that’s exactly the point. Most of what’s thrown in landfills is recoverable or recyclable somehow; the issue is sorting it in such a way that you limit cross contamination. If a system like this can be made to work, it will almost eliminate the need for landfills. If you notice, they’re even including compostables as a sortable type, so this will produce very, very little waste.

  • This idea looks like a politicians’ paradise aka a boondoggle – a project that is considered a useless waste of both time and money.

  • Think of all the miles and equipment that will be saved by consolidating garbage trucks and recycling trucks running the same route. Think of the value that will be received by selling the collected groups of recyclable materials. Think of the reduced costs in landfill real estate, processing, and hauling.

    This is a positive step, and will be much lighter on the wallet than you might think, MC. Quit fighting progess.

  • @miss_msry Automated recycling with large green bins and bi-weekly pickup is is available in many neighborhoods in Houston. The conversion started around 2010.

  • Wait a minute, a 6 mile X 6 mile 300 foot high mound of garbage will supply the US with its landfill needs for the next 1000 years.

    I think Loving County may have finally found its purpose.

  • We’ve had the large green bin for years now. Works fine. Aren’t they better off rolling out more of them (no pun intended) to expand the coverage area and spending some money on a PR campaign?

  • With single stream, everything goes in one container and gets separated out. That means no more of those expensive compostable bags. That means no more taking glass to the recycle center. That means a much higher capture rate for recycleable materials as not everyone is as diligent on sorting. The city already sorts recycling. Single stream just gives the City the ability to get way more recycleable materials and reduce landfill space (which even in wide open Texas is limited and costly). If the City effectively composts food waste and yard wastes, they could probably make a profit selling the compost to landscapers and the public.

  • One problem with the large green bins is that some people don’t use them (i think it is about 30%). One trash bin with auto sorting automatically forces recycling on everyone. It’s the future of waste management and if it can be done at a scale to handle Houston’s amount of waste it would be a major accomplishment. We could go from 14% recycling to topping SF in a couple years.
    If MC doesn’t like the idea he can always create his own landfill and haul his plastics and glass there himself to circumvent recycling.

  • I have busted my ass trying to get the large green cans on our street (1/2 mile west of downtown) to no avail for 3 years now. I think this all in one program is amazing and could be made to work in a very positive and beneficial way, all while making it super-duper easy to recycle for everyone. I know for a fact that a good amount of peeps do not use the small green bins because of sheer laziness and forgetfulness (pretty sad, I know). This program will help alleviate that issue and push Houston further up the line for top green cities, plus it will keep the pesky recycling pickup trucks from throwing the green bins ALL OVER the street, jerks!!! Also, as previously mentioned it would cut the truck fleets in half and save on the fuel as well for the fleet. Sure the new center may have a larger carbon footprint than say a normal trash center or recycling center, but this will be ONE facility and with the way sustainability and design is moving, I’m pretty sure there have been major advancements in the way products are sorted through and recycled.

  • Another PR campaign is needed directed to Beverly Hillbilly imitators who place their yard waste bags on the street all week. 37% of Heights area blocks will have yard waste and other items out by this coming Monday for Thursday collection. Classy. Yes, it’s tree waste collection week, so that’s ‘legal’.

  • It won’t cut the number of trucks in half. I get no recycling at all.

  • I would strongly suspect that the new system would still require the compostable yard debris bags, the only difference being that the bags would be placed in the can with the rest of the trash. I don’t see how they could sort a load of grass clippings or leaves dumped freely into the mix.

  • Oh, how I hate those compostable bags. Could they not make them just a bit thicker for that price? I usually waste two or three as the tiniest of a twig slices right through it. (I like the concept, it’s the execution that gets me, especially when you consider how much those things cost.)

  • I’d be ok with putting the current yard compostable bags into a bin, as it would help keep them from falling apart seconds after a light rain.
    As to the comment by Doris about people in the Heights who put bags of yard waste out on Monday for Thursday trash, I am one of those people. I work full time and I mow my yard on weekends. Bags go to the curb after I mow… BUT if you would prefer to come mow my lawn on Wednesday night, bag up the clippings, and put them on the curb for Thursday morning, please feel free.

  • 1. I’m 68, still working and mow my own lawn on the week-end. I put the compostable bags on the back porch where they won’t rot and put them out Wednesday evening.
    2. Mow your lawn, nah, just have the city ordinance enforced.