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For Revolutionary Environmental Change, Houston needs a Culture Shift

Every country around the world can take a lesson from Sweden, a country with a recycling program so far ahead it runs out of waste for its recycling program and has had to import it from other countries. A shocking less than 1 percent of household waste in Sweden was sent to landfills since 2011. Taking that concept even further, Swedish municipalities are investing in futuristic waste collection techniques. These include a type of automated vacuum system for use on residential blocks, and underground container systems, said Hazel Sheffield from The Atlantic. The country’s waste goes into a nation-wide heating network in an efficient over-arching energy recycling system.
“Swedish people are quite keen on being out in nature and they are aware of what we need to do on nature and environmental issues,” says Anna-Carin Gripwall, Director of Communications for the Swedish Waste Management’s Recycling Association. 
As the most foliage-dense large city in the United States, Houston could stand to be more conscious about its waste to honor the beautiful greenery we have at our fingertips. Residents who spend time in city parks and other outdoor areas want to see less waste left behind.
What can Houston learn from Sweden?

If we want to see our recycling and energy systems begin to shift toward zero-waste as Sweden has exemplified, a massive culture change will need to take place. Currently, there are several organizations such as the Texas Campaign for the Environment, Go Green Community and Green Houston that are actively working to increase recycling programs in the city. Though most large businesses in the area have recycling systems set up, we have a long way to go before recycling is seen as a major practice in Houston. 
A culture shift would require consistent communications from city officials and an applied recycling practice all Houston neighborhoods can follow regularly. Houston residents say that the city’s recycling could be more streamlined. Building regulations should require that all businesses have designated bins for recycling, composting and waste materials. If resident are encouraged to recycle in business places, there would be a collective consciousness for recycling in homes, schools and all across the city. What is your experience with recycling in public and in private?
Share your thoughts with us on how Houston can improve!
- By: Kelly Beecher, Vox Culture Blogger


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