No Recycling Town
Green groan: Houston tossed in the waste bin by wasteful cities study
Semi-hip reusable water bottle company Nalgene recently announced the 2010 rankings of the nation's least-wasteful cities, and the roster serves a big blow to Houston — we're at the absolute bottom of the waste bin.
Like the permanence of a styrofoam cup in a landfill, Houston has consistently remained at the bottom of the rankings. Industrial-based "donut" cities (those with hollow cores and lively suburbs) like Cleveland and Indianapolis land nearby, causing us to question how such a fresh, innovative city as Houston is comparable to 19th-century urban relics.
We're also far below other sprawling, car-obsessed Sun Belt cities like Los Angeles, Phoenix and Orlando. As sociologist Stephen Klineberg pointed out in the latest Houston Area Survey, our interest in green living is sinking like a stone.
Another blow to our eco-ego: Over the past year, Dallas showed the biggest improvement, moving from 24th to 14th. How did Houston let Big D go green under our watch?
Nalgene calculated the rankings based on a survey of 3,750 individuals around the country, evaluating their behavior on waste, sustainability efforts, shopping habits, transportation and likelihood of reusing items. The 23 questions dug into the smallest of habits, including reducing shower time and saving wrapping paper and ribbons.
Houston faired well in terms of using rain barrels (fifth place), shutting off lights when not in a room (sixth place) and 74 percent of residents use energy efficient light bulbs. Still, we rank 25th (dead last on the list) when it comes to recycling on a regular basis, buying locally grown and produced foods, utilizing reusable grocery bags and borrowing books from the library.
CultureMap asks: Will Houston ever clue in on the green wave? Or is this survey off the mark?