Councilor Karla Cisneros on Trash & Recycling Collection / by Michael Graves

This morning’s email newsletter from District H Councilor Karla Cisneros included the following letter:


January 17, 2019

Dear District H Constituents,

      As Council Member representing District H, I want to touch base with you all regarding the spike in missed and delayed waste pick up whether it be recycling or heavy trash. Please know that this spike is not isolated to your neighborhood or even just District H. This is a city-wide problem that has been happening for the last few months, and in an effort to achieve clarity, I have compiled below information regarding the delays and what the Solid Waste Department is doing to resume regularly scheduled recycling and heavy trash pickup.

What is causing the delays?

  • The City’s fleet of recycling trucks is aging and many sustained damage during Hurricane Harvey. This has led to equipment downtime as the trucks are repaired.

  • Many homeowners’ garbage and recycling bins were washed away during Hurricane Harvey, creating a backlog of delivery of the new bins.

  • Solid Waste is experiencing an increase in volume, typical for this time of year, further contributing to delays.

  • Solid Waste needs new truck mechanics and experienced CDL drivers, of which there are few, due to the nation-wide skilled labor shortage.

What is the City doing to help?

  • At the end of the summer, Solid Waste will receive 69 new trucks.

  • City Council voted to approve a recycling collections contract with a private vendor and a rental contract for extra manual collection garbage trucks while we wait for the new trucks to come in this summer. 

  • While there is a hiring freeze for most City of Houston departments, Solid Waste is exempt so that they may hire desperately needed trucks drivers and mechanics. To apply, visit this website.

  • Solid Waste has staff working overtime on weekends in an effort to get back on schedule.

  • Mayor Turner’s team is tracking all missed and delayed pickups personally by remaining in communication with Solid Waste, 311 operators, and Council Members.

  • The Solid Waste Department’s Facebook page updates information on daily routes being picked up each day.

  • Regularly-scheduled pickups are projected to resume ~60 days.

What can residents do?

  • Solid Waste is encouraging residents to take advantage of the six neighborhood depositories in the city. For more information on locations and requirements please visit this website.

  • If your bin is not picked up on your regularly-scheduled day, please report the situation first to 311 and then to my office by calling 832-393-3003. My office will coordinate with the Solid Waste department as well as the Mayor’s office to track and resolve the issue.

  • Continue to follow social media and the Solid Waste website for updates on when your neighborhood’s pickup will take place.

I understand that this situation is not only inconvenient, but frustrating. My staff and I have been tracking this issue for months and continue to vigilantly advocate for the constituents of District H. We are here to make your communications with the City of Houston more efficient and more transparent, so please do not hesitate to call my office with your issues, be they Solid Waste related or otherwise.

Sincerely,

Karla Cisneros

Council Member, District H