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Council members react to KHOU 11 Investigates story on recycling being taken to the landfill

“I can only hope it’s an isolated incident."

HOUSTON — Some Houston City Council members want to see action after a KHOU 11 Investigates story caught a city garbage truck mixing recycling with trash throughout one West Houston neighborhood.

The city confirmed all those recyclables went to the landfill. So, is this a one-time issue or is there a bigger problem?

Some council members told KHOU they’ve heard constituents complain about this issue before, while others never had. However, they all agreed the city needs to figure out whether the scene captured in KHOU’s story was a one-time issue.

Council Member Dwight Boykins of District D suggested starting the investigation with the driver seen in KHOU’s video and figure out why they mixed recycling with trash.

“I think to make certain that this is not happening, maybe we can get a report from the director or deputy director of (the) Solid Waste (Department) to ensure that this is not happening and proper training,” said Council Member Boykins.

RELATED: Investigation underway after new video exposes city workers not recycling

Council Member Brenda Stardig of District A suggests following the paper trail.

“We’re gonna need to ask the administration to investigate and get things right because it’s not fair to our taxpayers, it’s not fair to our communities,” said Council Member Stardig.

Council Member Michael Kubosh says someone needs to routinely review video footage from cameras onboard the trucks.

“I’ve been told that a lot of the recycling over the years has gone (to the landfill), and yet we’re paying extra to have it,” said Council Member Kubosh. “I want to see some action. I want to see the solid waste department take some action, and they need to address this important matter.”

Council Member Robert Gallegos chairs the city’s Regulation and Neighborhood Affairs committee, which oversees the Solid Waste Department.

“If there’s other recordings or videos of individuals recording Solid Waste doing that, then yeah, I think it needs to come to my committee, and that way we can investigate to see what we can do to resolve that issue,” said Council Member Gallegos.

He also added, “If this is one-time deal, then I’m going to give the benefit to Solid Waste that it was just one individual who took it upon himself to do that.”

Based on what KHOU found, the city has launched an investigation. All solid waste employees also received a letter saying the city does not condone treating recyclables like trash and that all material from those green bins must be taken to the recycling center.

KHOU also requested months of records from the city to determine if the truck driver’s actions were an isolated incident.