In case you missed it, over 600 trees and a 2 acre native garden were planted in our great City of Houston this weekend as part of Keep Houston Beautiful and the Great American Cleanup. There were six sites across town that participated in the KHB event with various objectives. I had the opportunity to go and check out the Esplanade Project at Weiss Park near The Houstonian Hotel which was proudly sponsored by Greenstar Recycling. If you are heading towards the Galleria on 610 from 290 - Look towards the right before Woodway and you should be able to see site.
When I arrived around 10 am, there had to be over 100 people already there and hard at work planting trees and other plants. Greenstar employees, community members of all ages combined with families were all joining for the same cause. What an amazing sight.
In the middle of all the action was the CEO of Greenstar Recycling Mike Simmons with a shovel in hand and hard at work. I was able to pull him to the side for a moment and ask a few questions. My initial question to you at the beginning of the post was ‘Can Houston Increase the Recycling Rate by 200%?‘ – I’m now convinced that if we do, Greenstar will have a huge part in the effort.
First, Greenstar Recycling is a leading single stream recycler in the State of Texas and their offices are based out of Houston. As you will find in a minute when I talk about my conversation with Mr. Simmons, single stream recycling brings convenience to homeowners and businesses by allowing you to place all recyclables in one container as opposed to separating in to different bins – And for those of you that follow my blog, you know how I feel about our ‘Society of Convenience’. This seems like a natural solution to our recycling needs and to help it go mainstream. Greenstar currently handles appx. 2 million tons of recyclables per year and is only focused on sustainability. Recycling is all they do. They have no interest in landfills except for reducing how much solid waste is dumped in them.
When I asked Mr. Simmons regarding their involvement with Keep Houston Beautiful and the Esplanade Project he responded “We are a key sponsor for both Keep Houston Beautiful and Keep Texas Beautiful because we believe that global problems can be solved at a local level.” He was excited that so many community members and families had shown up in support to plant trees and help make Houstonians proud of their City.
The next question I had was regarding the significance of single stream recycling. Did you know that by converting to single stream:
- San Antonio increased recycling by 200%
- Dallas by 300%
- Austin by 60%
The competitor in me says that Houston can do better. Right? Mr. Simmons stated that “People want to do the right thing… When recycling is made easy, people do it” so Greenstar works closely with Municipalities to help make recycling convenient for residents. They believe that Texas can be a National leader in Recycling and that single stream recycling is the answer for Houston.
For the readers that chimed in on Facebook, I did indeed ask if they were working to provide recycling options in Galveston, Montgomery County and in the Unincorporated parts of Harris County. The answer is yes. They are doing what they can in speaking with communities and municipalities. But something tells me like anything else, we need to demand it to make it happen quicker. Let your areas know that we WANT recycling options.
Do you think that single stream recycling is the answer to Houston’s recycling needs?
Thank you to Mike Simmons and everyone else from Greenstar that helped in getting these questions answered. I’m excited to see how Greenstar can help change the recycling landscape in Houston and surrounding areas.