All Together Now

A public-private partnership in Houston yields green dividends.

By Joshua Payne

Though free and easy recycling service should be incentive enough for most nonprofits, the company sweetens the pot further. Since AbitibiBowater is an end user of the recycled fiber product—its core business is manufacturing newsprint—it pays for the recycled paper, creating a revenue stream for the nonprofits. For hosting the bins, HEB will also be paid for the amount of materials collected.

“We collect old newspapers, magazines, catalogues, junk mail, office waste, and manufacture it back into newsprint,” Lambert says. “Some of our mills that we ship it to as raw materials are 100-percent recycled-content mills. It keeps it all diverted from the landfill.”

The Chicago Tribune and the Dallas Morning News are just two of the dailies that print on AbitibiBowater paper, he adds. The company took it one step further with H-E-B, by boosting the number of containers on the ground and providing bins to collect cans and bottles as well.

There now are 23 recycling bins in place, some of which receive so much paper they need to be emptied twice a week. In addition, H-E-B is slated to open three new stores in November, each of which will feature an AbitibiBowater container. Down the road, Lambert sees the program expanding to San Antonio and Austin.

The City of Houston wants to increase diversion, and the new venture aids\nthe existing curbside pick-ups and container programs, said Sarah Mason, an environmental analyst for the city. "Houston's a very spread-out city. The benefit to our residents is the availability of\nnew drop-off centers fairly quickly and at a place where they may already be going. The key to having good participation in recycling is convenience," she says.

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