On an annual basis, Houston residents and businesses generate millions of tons of solid waste and recycling through residential and commercial efforts.  In addition to normal life and business waste generation, over the past decade millions of tons of material has resulted from numerous natural disasters such as hurricanes and floods.  And while millions of tons of waste are generated annually in the region, the City of Houston is only responsible for managing municipal solid waste and disaster debris within its corporate limits, only a small percentage of the annual total.

As part of its charge of sustainable environmental management and fiscal responsibility, the City is in process of completing an updated Long-Range Solid Waste Plan.  The purpose of the plan is to ensure that proper steps are being studied and adopted to ensure proper waste management practices for current and future Houstonians. 
Mayor Sylvester Turner has appointed a Task Force to lead the Plan’s preparation; part of which included the hiring of an expert solid waste and environmental consultant to ensure alignment with federal, state and local stewardship laws and regulations.  Key components of the plan’s study are to include the following:

  •  Achieve Financial Sustainability for Solid Waste Services
  • Increase Reuse, Recycling and Organics Diversion and decrease environmental risks of waste disposal in landfills
  • Continue to Provide Quality Solid Waste Services to the residents and businesses of Houston
  • Ensure Long-term Disposal Capacity and Sustainable Solid Waste Infrastructure
  • Provide solid waste management services in a safe, equitable, responsive, and environmentally responsible manner

As part of the planning process, the City is seeking community feedback.  “Community feedback is important to any long-term planning process at the City.” said Mayor Sylvester Turner.  “As we work to identify future solid waste needs, it is important that broad public participation be included as a final and vital part of the process.” 
With the projected growth in both the number of residents and businesses, long-range solid waste management planning is a priority. “The City of Houston generates 4.2 million tons of municipal waste each year, said Director Harry Hayes, Solid Waste Management Department
“Because of the projected growth, it is imperative that we look at the next 20-years and identify solid waste management strategies with the goal of reducing the amounts of waste generated.”
The Solid Waste Management Department has posted the proposed Long-Range Solid Waste Management Plan and a survey that residents can complete to share feedback for the draft plan on the project website.  The survey is open through October 31, 2020.

The City is hosting a series of virtual meetings that residents are encouraged to attend to hear an overview of the plan, ask questions and share feedback. Those meeting dates and times are below. All meetings will be held via Microsoft TEAMs. Information on how to call in or join online can be found on the website: http://www.houstontx.gov/solidwaste/longrange/ 

Wednesday October 7, 2020 from 6pm-8pm
Tuesday October 13, 2020 from 2pm-4pm

College and high school students are invited to a special Leaders of Tomorrow discussion on:

Wednesday October 14, 2020 from 5pm-7pm

Please visit http://www.houstontx.gov/solidwaste/longrange/ for updates about the Houston Integrated Resource Recovery & Management Plan and how to join the virtual public meetings.

For more information about SWMD and our services, visit us at www.houstonsolidwaste.org, “LIKE” us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/houstonsolidwaste, follow us on Twitter @HoustonTrash, or call 3-1-1, the City of Houston’s Customer Service Helpline. 

About the City of Houston Solid Waste Management Department
The Solid Waste Management Department (SWMD) provides solid waste services to the citizens of Houston through the collection, disposal and recycling of discarded material in a manner that is safe, efficient, environmentally sound and cost-effective.