Hard to Change Houston's Rep as Nation's Worst Recycler

<p>As the worst recycler amongst the 30 largest American cities, Houston has a lot of trash on its hands. But many obstacles stand in the way of the city closing the loop.</p>
July 29, 2008, 1pm PDT | Nate Berg
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"Houston recycles just 2.6 percent of its total waste, according to a study this year by Waste News, a trade magazine. By comparison, San Francisco and New York recycle 69 percent and 34 percent of their waste respectively. Moreover, 25,000 Houston residents have been waiting as long as 10 years to get recycling bins from the city."

"Environmental advocates are pleading for municipal intervention. And some small improvements - an organic waste program, for one - are expected soon."

"But city officials say real progress will be hard to come by. Landfill costs here are cheap. The city's sprawling, no-zoning layout makes collection expensive, and there is little public support for the kind of effort it takes to sort glass, paper and plastics. And there appears to be even less for placing fees on excess trash."

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Published on Tuesday, July 29, 2008 in The New York Times
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