- Tristan "Pan" Berlanga, a third grader from Houston, has started a glass collection service called Hauling Glass in response to the city's recent decision to eliminate glass recycling.
- For $10 a month, Berlanga and his sister's boyfriend David Krohn are offering curbside pickup of rinsed out glass, which they store in a warehouse before taking it to a recycling center. The duo allows residents to pay three months at a time, or have the monthly fee auto drafted.
- Collection expanded to the 77007, 77009, and 77009 areas, and is attracting even more demand. Krohn told KHOU that in one day alone he received 300 emails requesting pickup service.
What may seem like a small business for this third grader and his buddy actually reflects a bigger issue for the city of Houston—residents want their glass recycled.
This service was not affordable for Houston when renegotiating recycling contracts with Waste Management last month. Waste Management CEO David Steiner expressed that the company has been losing a significant amount of money from recycling (especially glass recycling), therefore the city had to eliminate the service or risk increasing recycling fees.
The city's decision was one that Berlanga just couldn't accept. "I just found out the recycling people didn't take glass and I was sad," he told KHOU.
While it is unclear how long Berlanga and Krohn will collect and recycle residents' glass, it is clear that city residents are willing to pay for the material to be picked up. Therefore, the city may find value in reconsidering a glass recycling contract with Waste Management—a move that other stakeholders such as the Glass Packaging Institute and Strategic Materials would also appreciate.
Berlanga did not respond to Waste Dive's request for comment.