Houston Wins $1 Million Grant for "One Bin for All" Innovation, Captain Planet Pleased

Categories: Environment

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Good job, Houstonians!
Captain Planet and Mayor Annise Parker thank you.

Last month, the city of Houston was selected by the Bloomberg Philanthropies' Mayors Challenge for their "One Bin for All" innovation, which would allow citizens to put all of their trash in one bin, and from there, a sorting facility (which is to be built) would separate trash from recyclables.

On Wednesday, Houston was named one of five finalists, and will receive $1 million to make this innovation a reality (woohoo!).

Said Parker:

I am thrilled that Houston has been selected as a Mayors Challenge winner. One Bin for All is a first-of-its kind innovation that will revolutionize the way we handle trash, achieving high-volume recycling and waste diversion, reduced greenhouse gas emissions and lower operating costs. I am anxious to begin implementation because I know this cutting-edge technology has the potential to improve health and quality of life not only in Houston, but around the world.

Construction for the sorting facility should begin next year and the innovation should be set in stone within the next two years.

Bloomberg said, "Recycling has often been treated as an individual responsibility, like paying taxes. But Mayor Parker's innovative One Bin for All idea turns that notion on its head. Achieving a 75 percent recycling recovery rate in Houston would represent a huge leap forward in urban sustainability practices."

In no time, the hassle of separating what needs to be recycled and what's garbage (because we all know it's a "hassle") will all be over and done with. Plus, Houston will get cleaner air and less waste will get sent to landfills. It's a win-win, right?

Providence came away with the grand prize of $5 million with their "Providence Talks" innovation, which gives children in low-income households devices that help count words along with a program for their parents to help them further build their children's language skills.

The other cities awarded $1 million are Philadelphia, Santa Monica and Chicago, whose "Chicago SmartData Platform" will use an open-source platform, which would assist in making smarter and faster decisions and also prevent problems before they occur (essentially, a mechanical psychic).

Although Houston didn't win the grand prize of $5 million, it did win the fan vote (take that, Providence!), according to the Huffington Post.

In two years' time, the city of Houston will be a much greener place, and thankfully so: Captain Planet was about to take matters into his own hands.

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 I really think it

would be great to allow the City's artists to play with the project. If trash (not garbage) were sorted by color, it would be an instant palette for Houston-based artists

to play with. If sculpture can be created out of trash, we not only address our problem of over-filled waste dumps, but we can give Houston-based artists an extra

means of employment, and pay tribute to innovations in medicine being carried out at the Houston Medical Center.  It would be a truly unique solution provided by the City of Houston.

One possibility is decorating the spaces underneath the City's elevated freeways. If Houston-based artists oversaw the construction of surfaces under the freeways "painted" with trash, the world could view Houston as funding a massive comment on how our arteries get clogged by unthinking consumption of waste, analogous to our culture's proclivity to arteriosclerosis. Not as a negative thing, but as a comment on were we are as far as consumption as a City. IT would highlight the tremendous work on arteriosclerosis which is being done at  Houston's medical center, the premier  in the country. Art that tributes innovations in the field of medicine, while addressing the need for green solutions to land-fill--all the while underscoring that  this could happen no where else but in the City of Houston. The first step would be to have the trash sorted by color as well as by the other factors you are considering. Then you have a color palette that Houston-based artists can play with. There is lots of space underneath our freeways that can be decorated in color. This is a statement that is worth making on a City-scale.


Over 6,000 untested rape kits. Over 27,000 burglaries in one year. Maybe Mayor Parker should spend time focusing on the real issues plaguing this city. But then again, who really cares; at least we can now say we have a recycling program. Priorities.

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