Could the future of recycling in Houston be in jeopardy?

- For many of us it’s routine to separate paper, plastic and metal from all our other trash.  But what if one day recycling disappeared?

Houston’s Waste Management is one of the largest in recycling in the country.  We show you an inside look on where recycling gets processed.  It makes up 10 percent of Waste Management’s annual budget.  We’re talking big money – in 2014 that came down to $14 billion.  Four times more than the budget today.  In just one year money coming in from recycling took a major downturn.  It brings up the question: will recycling be around forever?

“It doesn't make sense to just have recycling go away. Recycling is what needs to happen bigger and better in this city. We need to do a better job of recycling and not eliminate. That’s a little bit on the ridiculous side,” Councilman Dave Martin said.

The councilman is a huge advocate for recycling in particular the city’s e-waste program which keeps everything from TV’s to other electronics being grouped with waste.  He says right after the price of oil crashed, the commodities market took a toll.  That includes: paper, plastic, metal also factor in grass and electronics.

“When the downturn happened in the commodities market we would sell our grass that we cut, we would sell the computer waste we had and would make money on that,” Martin said.

Now Houston isn’t seeing that same money from selling recyclables to private companies.  The good news is experts say the commodities market will eventually bounce back.

“I would think that the commodities market would bounce back a little bit, but if they don't we have to make sure we get money from other sources.

You can use it out of the normal solid waste management budget you have different departments that can give you money,” Martin said.

It’s all part of a larger solution to keep our Earth clean.  Less waste in landfills and not as much pollution in the air.

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