Do you have curbside recycling?

July 10, 2008 4:15:49 PM PDT
For some people in the City of Houston, recycling is as easy as taking their plastics to the curbside, but that could change soon for thousands of homeowners. That's because in some neighborhoods few people are taking advantage of the service.

If you have curbside recycling, you better use it, because it will go away at the end of the year if your neighborhood's recycling rate does not go up.

The curbside convenience is something Margarita Espinosa takes full advantage of.

"I put it on my calendar when they are supposed to come," she said. "Most of the time I have two bins."

But a quick look down her Skyscraper Shadows subdivision shows few of her neighbors are following suit.

"I see only two people or three on this street recycling."

We found some green bins being used for storage and some homeowners who did not even have a green bin.

"I never received any of the boxes, so I take it down to HEB," Yesenia Herrera said. "The containers they have there -- that's where I recycle."

The residents of Skyscraper Shadows are not alone.

In 43 Houston neighborhoods, the recycling rate is less than 10 percent, and that's not good enough for the City of Houston.

"With the price of gas and diesel, it does not make sense for us to drive the trucks down the road and find that there are very few bins out on the curb," City of Houston representative Marina Joseph said.

In an effort to encourage recycling, the City of Houston has sent out a letter to neighborhoods where recycling rates are low. Some 23,000 homes could lose the service if more people don't participate. The City of Houston will then reassign the service to neighborhoods where it is currently unavailable.

"I wish we had it," Robin Beerman said. "I believe in recycling, and I go out of my way to do it."

Beerman has to drive her recyclable material to a drop-off center and would love the ease of curbside pick-up in her area.

"It bothers me that people don't recycle," she said.

If recycling rates do not improve in flagging neighborhoods, curbside pick-up will be reassigned by the end of the year.

"Those that are on the waiting list and where it makes economic sense to do so, we are going to add them to the program," Joseph said.

The target for any neighborhood with curbside recycling is 10 percent. If your neighborhood has less than 10 percent participation, you could lose curbside pick-up. Neighborhoods have until the end of the year to get to the 10 percent level.

To see how your neighborhood is doing with its recycling rate, check out The Consumer Blog.

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