Houston Could Do Better on Recycling

Houston ranks as one of the worst major cities when it comes to recyling. Houston Mayor Bill White says the city will do more to improve its recycling record. Laurie Johnson has more.
This week the New York Times printed an article about Houston's dismal recycling record. It shows Houston has a 2.6 percent recycling rate, compared to 34 percent in New York and 62 percent in Los Angeles.

Houston Mayor Bill White questions those numbers.

"I get a little suspicious about some of the figures that I see on recycling within some communities, because not everybody audits what politicians say."

The article characterized Houston as a maverick city, resistant to change. But White says that's not the complete story. He says the city has to do better and admits they are behind in reducing dependence on landfills. But residents have to buy in as well.

"You know recycling does take some partnership between the citizens and the solid waste department. And so we are probably less coercive than other cities, we do respect and honor human freedom. You know, we're less intrusive than some other cities are, that's a fact."

White says they're streamlining the recycling process to free up additional personnel. That will allow them to add capacity for neighborhoods on the waiting list.

And an additional million dollars was recently allocated for more recycle bins, biodegradeable bags and educational outreach.

Laurie Johnson. KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.
Bio photo of Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...