Houston, that’s really embarrassing

July 29, 2008 at 7:47 am (environment, international, random, san francisco)

From an article from NYTimes about Houston’s recycling:

It is the worst recycler among the United States’ 30 largest cities.

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.

Yay, San Francisco!  I love San Francisco.  Plus, the city collects compost!  That’s awesome!

Here’s info on other cities:

I guess it’s the NEW YORK Times, which is why they quote the NYC number, but it’s also pretty embarrassing for NY to be so far behind other cities like SF, LA, San Jose, San Diego, and Chicago.  It’s barely above the national average!  And why did they exclude Boston?  Is this a Red Sox thing?

Okay, here’s the update after looking at wastenews.com:

It looks like they cut it off based on population, and the cities in their bar graph are the most populous cities.  Here’s the rest of the list that’s available:

  • Austin 27.3%
  • Memphis 26.0%
  • Fort Worth 22.2%
  • Baltimore 42.0% (That’s unexpected, but that’s not bad)
  • Charlotte 10.6%
  • El Paso 16.0%
  • Boston 15.0% (Boston, you should be ashamed!)
  • Seattle 44.0%
  • Washington 22.0%
  • Milwaukee 24.0%
  • Denver 10.3%
  • Las Vegas 16.0%
  • Nashville 28.0%
  • Oklahoma City 3.0% (It’s a good thing there’s Houston, otherwise, you’d be getting the shameful headline.)
  • Portland 62.0%

Doesn’t seem to be correlated with size.  So that’s no excuse.  Based on the patterns that you do see, my guess is that weather and willpower are key factors for having high recycling.  But Baltimore is pretty high.  As is Chicago… so I don’t think weather can be an excuse either.

You know what other city is doing embarrassing things?  Beijing is erecting screens to hide some areas for the Olympics.  Beijing, we can see the screens and we can tell you’re hiding stuff.  And this whole issue appears to to beyond appearances, so there are other interesting bits in the article.

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