After controversy, Waste Management retains Houston recycling contract

City of Houston agrees to two-year deal with WM that leaves glass out of its collection bins.

March 10, 2016
Recycling Today Staff

On the heels of a public standoff that involved Mayor Sylvester Turner, the city of Houston and Waste Management Inc. (WM) have agreed to a two-year extension to the city’s residential recycling collection program.

Houston, led by its mayor, had rejected an earlier offer by Houston-based WM to charge $3 million or more per year to collect residential recyclables. According to a March 11, 2016, article on the Houston Chronicle website, the two parties have agreed to a two-year contract to use 96-gallon collection carts for “paper, cardboard, plastics and metal cans,” according to the Chronicle.

Per terms of the new agreement, however, glass bottles and jars will not be welcomed by WM. “Glass containers still can be dropped off at the city's neighborhood depositories, but no longer will be allowed in the curbside bins,” says the Chronicle.

According to an earlier report on the Houston Public Media website, Mayor Turner had indicated the city would negotiate with other service providers to take over the collection contract when it was set to expire in mid-March 2016.

The mayor said the city was facing a budget gap and had not anticipated the new contract terms, which involved “an increase of several million [dollars] over the current contract,” according to Houston Public Media.

The website also has posted an email reportedly sent by WM CEO David Steiner to Melanie Scruggs of the Help Houston Recycle organization. In the email, Steiner refers to “losing over $1 million per year” on its existing contract with Houston. Steiner also writes that he had informed the Turner administration one year earlier that contact terms would be changing in the future.