Houston will get $1 million from the Bloomberg Philanthropies Mayors Challenge, a competition that awards cash prizes to ideas aimed at solving urban problems, to fund its controversial project to recover and process recycling in the city.
As part of its “One Bin for All” initiative, the nation’s fourth largest city intends to build a large dirty materials recovery facility, which sorts recyclables out of garbage. Residents of the city, which has struggled to raise its recycling rate, would be able to put all recyclables (including e-scrap) and waste in one bin. However, the idea has drawn opposition from a Texas environmental group which argues that this is the wrong approach.
The winners were announced on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” Providence took the $5 million grand prize, with Houston, Chicago, Philadelphia and Santa Monica, California taking $1 million runner-up prizes.
“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,” New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a statement, reported by the Houston Business Journal. “Achieving a 75 percent recycling recovery rate in Houston would represent a huge leap forward in urban sustainability practices.”
According to the Business Journal, Houston was named the “fan favorite” based on voting on The Huffington Post. The project will get another $50,000 in-kind grant from IBM and be featured on The Huffington Post.
Winners were selected based on vision, ability to implement, potential for impact and potential for replication.