Single-bin recycling expanding to new areas

Dec. 3, 2013Houston Chronicle

Houston’s single-stream curbside recycling program has been expanding to additional local communities in recent months The city has announced plans to bring in another 70,000 households to the program before the end of the year.

Single-stream recycling allows participants to put all of their recyclable materials in one wheeled 96-gallon container instead of having to sort recyclables into two smaller bins, as occurs in the city’s “dual-stream” program.

Single-stream sorting takes place at the recycling plant.

“The feedback my office has received about the automated recycling program has been overwhelming,” District C City Councilwoman Ellen Cohen said. “District C residents are very passionate about recycling.”

The city has expanded its single-stream curbside recycling program from about 10,000 households in 2009 to about 210,000 as of October, Solid Waste Management Department Director Harry Hayes said in a recent statement.

The newest additions to the program received their collection carts in late October, and the first collections were scheduled to take place as soon as the week of Nov. 25, depending on the neighborhood.

Another 60,000 households will be added to the program this spring, the city has said.

The program accepts newspapers, magazines, office paper, junk mail, cardboard and paperboard.

Also accepted are paper bags, glass bottles and jars, aluminum cans, tin and steel cans and plastics numbers 1-5 and 7.

Some residents who aren’t part of the single-stream recycling program have access to the dual-stream curbside program, which doesn’t accept glass.

Additionally, the city maintains several public recycling centers, including the Center Street Recycling Center, 3602 Center St., which is open 8 a.m.-8 p.m. daily.

“Aside from city of Houston services, many neighborhood groups offer recycling opportunities as well,” Cohen said. “For instance, the Montrose Management District hosts a monthly recycling mixer at the H-E-B Montrose Market.”

The Heights households joining the single-stream program are between 11th and 20th streets from Studewood to Yale and between Seventh and 11th streets from Nicholson to Shepherd, said Lauriel Hindman, business manager for the Houston Heights Association.

“Expansion does not begin until Dec. 5; so it’s hard to know how it’s working yet,” Hindman said. “Most comments I’ve heard are excitement and gratitude.”

In East Montrose, most of the neighborhood has had single-stream curbside recycling since 2009, said Catherine Belan, president of the East Montrose Civic Association.

The section of the neighborhood that falls east of Taft was slated to begin getting the service this year.

“Everybody here would like recycling to be picked up once a week and garbage every other week,” Belan said. “That tells you how we feel about recycling.”

Currently, she said, garbage pick-up takes place weekly, and recycling pick-up is every other week.

Area neighborhoods that will be part of the city’s automated recycling program include:

  • Arlington Heights
  • Heights (a section of the neighborhood)
  • Heights Progressive
  • Independence Heights
  • Lancaster Place
  • Lazy Oaks
  • Shady Acres
  • Shepherd Oaks
  • East Montrose (a section of the neighborhood)
  • Fourth Ward/Freeman’s Town
  • Oak Forest (central, north, southeast)
  • Old Yale
  • Woodland Acres Section 6

For more on the program, visit www.houstontx.gov/solidwaste/recycling.html.