I woke up this morning–another Thursday, so it’s household recycling day. We put out paper, plastic and glass in the designated recycling bins each week. Our remaining “garbage” fills only one trash bag a week. The sad thing is, we live in Houston–the fourth largest city in the U.S.–and only 22% of households recycle. Seattle, San Francisco and other progressive cities lead the list, with about two-thirds of the population recycling. Chicago and Detroit are at the bottom of the list.
I read in the Houston Chronicle this week that the City of Houston Department of Solid Waste Management is evaluating the possibility of building a large, state-of-the art recycling plant. This would save the City plenty of money, as well as plenty of landfill space. Other, more landlocked cities do not have the luxury of dumping easily recycled materials in landfills.
Recycling is easy if you make a small effort. The household pickup each week is simple. For $3/month, you get the recycling bin and set it out by the garage on Thursdays. If more neighbors recycled, the cost could go down.
When I purchased a new smartphone last year, I sold the old one to the eBay recycling service for $60. I got a free shipping label and received payment quickly. A few weeks ago, I turned in a 25-year-old laser printer for a $50 rebate on a new, energy-efficient printer. This week I took two old cell phones and a laptop computer to a retail store for recycling.
Local papers and bulletins have notices about community recycling efforts. On October 24, the (Houston) Bay Area Community Advisory Panel (BAYCAP) holds its monthly meeting at the Armand Bayou Nature Center. The topic is the interactions of the 27 plants in the Bay Area, and their recycling efforts. On November 10, the Johnson Space Center Contractors will sponsor free electronic recycling. Materials will be recycled properly and in compliance with e-waste regulations.
Let’s think about recycling as a lifestyle issue, not a trash issue.