There was big news in the recycling industry here in the Houston area Jan. 10 when the Houston City Council agreed to a new 15-year contract for recycling services with a Spanish company, Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas S.A. (FCC on the European Stock Exchange). In the U.S., this company is called FCC Environmental Services and will move its U.S. headquarters to Houston. They will build a new multiple recycling facility (MRF) here in Houston to process materials. It is estimated that it will take 14 months to build the new facility and begin processing Houston's recycled materials. A plus will be that with the new facility the city will again start taking glass and also film plastic like single-use grocery bags.
With this new company moving into the Houston area, competition will heat up with the existing companies that currently handle much of the recycled materials. Competition is generally good for the consumer, or in this case, the residents who pay to have their garbage picked up and their materials recycled. The City of Dallas began using this same company on Jan. 1, 2017. Recently the National Waste and Recycling Association rated the Dallas MRF as the best in North America. If you are an investor, FCC sells on the European stock exchange and recently was priced at about $11.31 per share.
There is some bad news associated with this change. Waste Management, a Houston-headquartered company, is losing the contract. They currently run at least two MRFs in the Houston area and process recycled materials for not only the city but many other trash service companies. They tout themselves as the largest recycler in the world. The city contract is only a tiny part of their business, but I am sure they hate to lose the contract in their home city. Time will tell if they will be able to cut costs and become more aggressive with their future contract negotiations. The good news for Waste Management is that since they own the Atascocita landfill they will probably continue to receive the city’s trash if not their recyclable materials.
Congratulations to Mayor Sylvester Turner and the city's Solid Waste Department for looking for ways to save money and at the same time recycle more. Since Waste Management stopped taking glass in March of 2016, most glass in the city has been going to the landfill, and in our part of the city that is the Atascocita landfill. Since glass is one of the heaviest of recycled products, that has increased the city’s cost to bury garbage when they take it to the landfill since they pay by the ton. Several years ago the city already had started diverting green waste (grass, leaves, branches, etc.) from going to the landfill by sending it out to New Caney and other spots where Living Earth Technology turns it into mulch and compost. Unfortunately most residents do not have this service and all their green waste still goes to the landfill.
Recently Keep Kingwood Green, represented by Herlinda Gonzalez, received a Proud Partner certificate from the mayor for our BOPA High Awareness Campaigns. The city and Councilman Dave Martin offer residents an opportunity twice a year to bring excess paint, oils, antifreeze, batteries, scrap metal and appliances to the Kingwood Metro lot for responsible disposal and recycling. The most recent BOPA, as the collection is called, was held Dec. 16 after being canceled in October because of Harvey cleanup. At the two events held in Kingwood in 2017, almost 1,000 residents took advantage of these collections. We are always happy to publicize the event and help the city with the collection of these items that should never go to the landfill. Residents recycled over 25 tons of these products at the BOPAs in 2017.
Thanks to you, we are reducing waste and toxins from being buried in our local landfill. Prevention is better than remediation! The next BOPA will be in the spring. You can join our mailing list to be informed about all recycling opportunities in the Lake Houston area. Go to our web site,, and click on subscribe to our newsletter.
Would you give us a hand? Keep Kingwood Green is a 501(c)3 all-volunteer, nonprofit organization. While we have few overhead expenses, our effectiveness to advocate for and educate about recycling is limited by our finances and the number of volunteers we have. If you have ever attended an event and noticed that all cans and bottles are going into a trash container and said, “What a shame, somebody ought to do something about this.” Well, maybe you are that somebody who could join our group and work on this project. We do event recycling but are limited by volunteers and funding. Call us!
Electronics: Everyone, it seems, got new electronics as a holiday gift. Don't forget to recycle the old stuff.・CompuCycle spends the first Saturday of every month from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Kingwood Metro lot collecting tons of this stuff for recycling. On Jan. 6 they collected 18,469 pounds. Take yours there Feb. 3 and it will be responsibly recycled. Check this web site for what they take.

Hal Opperman
Author: Hal OppermanEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
I grew up in Ohio but, as the saying goes, got to Texas as soon as I could! After graduating from Ohio University with a BBA, I went to work for Humble Oil. The big oil company, now ExxonMobil, moved me around to Ohio, Maryland, West Virginia, DC and finally to Houston where I retired after 36 years. Several of us founded Keep Kingwood Green over ten years ago to educate about and advocate for recycling in the Lake Houston area. I was the president of the board of that organization until the beginning of 2017 and remain a board member. Other activities include a large garden at my home in Kingwood and I am also a volunteer at Oak Forest Elementary in Atascocita where the students maintain a large garden. I am the area spokesman for the National Spasmodic Dysphonia Association. In 2014, I became a Texas Certified Master Composter and that skill fits in perfectly with my gardening endeavors since composting is a means of recycling. Please send comments or questions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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