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Texas’ revolutionary solution to reduce litter and increase recycling infrastructure and education passed a critical milestone this month with the introduction of bills in both the Texas House and Senate. And this week, Texas legislative leaders moved to allow hearings on the bills.


The Texas Clean and Healthy legislation is a free market, no-tax rebate program to collect recyclable plastic and prevent it from becoming litter that ends up clogging Texas waterways and flowing into the Gulf of Mexico.


Under the program, a deposit is collected in the form of a 1 cent charge added to plastic bottles, shopping bags, and to-go cups for non-alcoholic drinks. The small charge covers the collection cost, recycling fees, and rebate of 25 cents per pound of plastic returned. The program is a voluntary, free market system with no tax increase.


Senator Larry Taylor (R-Friendswood) and Representative Geanie Morrison (R-Victoria) introduced companion Texas Clean and Healthy bills, SB 1276 and HB 4022 respectively, last month and both bills have been referred to committees for hearings. 


“Our mission is to empower Texans to keep our communities clean and beautiful. This legislation helps prevent litter, promote recycling, provide resources to support Texas communities, and helps support our mission in communities of all sizes.” Suzanne Kho, Executive Director of Keep Texas Beautiful–which has nearly 300 affiliate community members throughout the state. 


Plastic waste has also become a serious danger to livestock and aquatic life. Much of it is recyclable and manufacturers in Texas hope this legislation will help make more new sustainable products, not more waste or litter across the Texas landscape. 


More than 22 local water protection groups and some of the largest manufacturers in Texas using recycled plastics have joined to support this effort.


“We need to get more material back to make recycling work for the corporations that have goals for recycled content, because consumers want to know they are recycling for a reason–a better future.” Octavio Vital, CEO of Green Impact Plastics, whose Sherman manufacturing plant has to import post-consumer plastic from as far away as Canada due to limited recycling recovery rates in Texas.


All Texas communities will see benefits from the Texas Clean and Healthy legislation through increased litter enforcement and cleanup activities, along with the implementation or expansion of recycling infrastructure.

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