City Council Green-Lights Mayor Turner's Last-Minute Recycling Contract

It's official: Houston will continue recycling — at least for two more years. Yesterday, City Council approved the recycling contract that Mayor Sylvester Turner negotiated with Waste Management and announced March 11. 

Before then, the city almost ditched recycling completely when it considered cutting ties with Waste Management — its previous contract was about to expire, and Turner thought both contracts that WM offered were too long-term and too expensive. One of them would cost the city $18 million over six years, and the other was $11.6 million for three. But at the last minute, Turner struck a deal with WM that he called a "win-win" for them both: The two-year contract will cost the city $2.7 million per year — but the catch is that you can't recycle glass anymore, the most expensive item for WM to process.

Councilman Michael Kubosh told the Houston Press that he voted for it, but reluctantly. Amid the city's roughly $160 million budget shortfall, he still thought it was too expensive. Plus, the process wasn't proper and was too rushed, Kubosh said.

"I was opposed to the way this all got dumped on the mayor. But he was very reasonable," Kubosh said. "I didn't want to spend the money that we had to spend, but I couldn't see killing the program. I just couldn't see doing that."

Only two council members voted against the deal, Councilmen Greg Travis and Mike Knox. Kubosh said that was because the contract hadn't been put out for a bid and there was no time for the mayor to shop around for the best deal.

But at least there is one. If you still want to recycle glass, then for the next two years, you'll have to physically take your bottles to a recycling center. Check out this cool map to see where the nearest one is located.

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Meagan Flynn is a staff writer at the Houston Press who, despite covering criminal justice and other political squabbles in Harris County, drinks only one small cup of coffee per day.
Contact: Meagan Flynn