According to National Public Radio, Houston is working on a plan to abolish separate recycling bins entirely, thus ending curbside recycling. The idea is that residents and business owners would pile their recyclables and their trash into a single bin. The contents of the bin would be taken to a facility and recyclables would be separated and then processed while the rest would be transported onto a landfill.
In effect, the decision of what is recyclable or not would be taken away from residents and business owners and would be performed by the processing facility. City officials claim that this new way of doing things would reduce the amount of trash that goes into a landfill by 75 percent.
However, environmentalists have formed a coalition opposing the scheme. Their position is that no recycling facility has ever achieved more than 30 percent reduction in landfill trash. City officials counter that the environmentalists’ information is outdated. New technology, which has been proven in Europe, is just starting to become available in the United States. It will make a 75 percent reduction possible.
The city of Houston adds that the “one bin” scheme will not be implemented until private companies bidding to run the new facilities meet a number of criteria. These include “cost-effectiveness, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and using technology that has a positive impact on the environment.” Unless those criteria are met, traditional curbside recycling will continue.