Oppose Costly and Dirty Trash Incinerator

Oppose Houston, Texas Material Recovery Facility's trash incinerator

Target: Mayor of Houston, Annise Parker

Goal: Prevent increased pollution by opposing dirty trash incinerator

Instead of promoting single-stream recycling, which requires separation of recyclables and trash, the city of Houston, Texas has proposed a “one bin for all”  Material Recovery Facility (MRF). With the mixing of both trash and recyclables, Houston claims the MRF will divert 75% of trash from the landfill. Waste might be diverted but definitely not recycled. The facility will recover what recyclables it can but then use incineration for the rest, creating air pollution and dirty ash. Waste facilities like these have failed in the past. Action must be taken to demand a single-stream curbside recycling program for all of Houston.

The city of Houston is iconic for urban sprawl, industrial success, and environmental pollution. The “one bin for all” program does not promote recycling. To reuse recyclable materials, the items must be dry and clean. Mixing dirty waste and food with dry recyclables does not make these reusable products valuable. Material Recovery Facilities have been proposed for other cities in the past, with only an estimated 10-30% of items recycled for future use. Houston’s MRF will be costly at $100 million. However, the price of extending single-stream curbside recycling would only cost the city $17 million.

Officials in support of the MRF have proclaimed the trash will go through “gasification” and “catalytic conversion” instead of combustion. However, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, these processes are considered incineration. Trash incineration pollutes the air by releasing Persistent Organic Pollutants such as dioxin. Dioxin is known to cause birth defects and cancer. Air quality, human health, and sustainable living are at risk because of this expensive trash incinerator plan.

Allowing Houstonians to throw away all trash and recyclables in one bin does not encourage waste awareness. The city needs to learn the importance of recyclables and an MRF will not change the way Houston citizens view their waste. The MRF plan will completely dissolve single-stream curbside recycling in the city by 2015. By signing this petition, you are urging the mayor of Houston to oppose the polluting MRF and encourage recycling by implementing a city-wide single-stream recycling program.


Dear Mayor Parker,

The “one bin for all” waste program, associated with a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF), does not promote recycling awareness or a healthy community. The processes used in the MRF, gasification and catalytic conversion, are considered incineration according to the Environmental Protection Agency. These methods will harm air quality and human health. The MRF might divert a large percentage of trash from the landfill but that does not mean a large percentage is recycled. Mixing trash and recyclables only produces dirty reusable materials, which are unwanted on the recycling market.

The cost of such a facility will be exponentially more expensive than implementing a city-wide single-stream curbside pick-up program. Single stream recycling is a proven and effective form of recycling, versus the failures associated with a MRF. Please take action to oppose this costly, wasteful, and dirty Material Recovery Facility.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Dan DeLuca via Flickr

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78 Signatures

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