I maintain a little personal office in Midtown, that is located in an old house. As far as the city should be concerned, it’s a residence, and the house directly next to it actually is a residence. Despite being a stone’s throw away from City Hall itself, it is not serviced by any sort of recycling program. This presents an odd quandary for me, as I have a habit of drinking a lot of canned or bottled Dr Pepper during the workday. Often times, my two options are to throw them away, or take them with me in my car so I may recycle at home.
There is something just a little bit absurd about giving aluminum cans a half-hour ride just so they are properly disposed. Accordingly, I was glad to hear the Chron report that the City Council will be voting tomorrow on a significant expansion of the recycling program.
According to that article, only 54% of Houston is served by any sort of recycling program, much less the “single-stream” carts. The most recent budget aims to immediately increase that number to 63%.
However, a closer examination of this proposal sees that, rather than providing some minimum standard for those neighborhoods still without any recycling service, the proposal would invest a serious component of the money into giving single-stream service to neighborhoods already provided for with tubs. What this means is that, right now, 28% of homes have recycling carts, 26% have recycling tubs and 46% have nothing. Under the current proposal, the percentage serviced with carts (single-stream) would rise to 55%, whereas the percentage serviced by the smaller tubs would fall drastically to only 8%. But a full 37% would still be without recycling.
This might be getting a little too numerical to follow along with, but it seems to me that, if the single-stream carts were given priority for those without any recycling service, like my office in Midtown, the total recycling number could rise to 81%, instead of 63%.
The Solid Waste Department has yet to release the names of the neighborhoods which would be newly serviced in the event of this ordinance’s passage.