Houston Vies For Bloomberg’s $5 Million To Help Create ‘One Bin For All’

As a city we recycle about 14% of our waste. A new "Total Reuse: One Bin for All" idea hopes to move that way past the national average of 27% with some help from New York's Mayor Bloomberg and $5 million dollars.

Houston was selected out of 300 U.S. cities to be named as one of 20 finalists for Mayor Bloomberg’s Philanthropies’ Mayors Challenge. An idea — supported by Mayor Parker — was submitted that must either improve city government or government services to residences.

As the city’s sustainability director Laura Spanjian explains Houston’s suggestion was recycling based.

“So our idea is to no longer have people separate out something thats recyclable versus something that’s not.”

The idea is there will be one bin where you throw everything: food waste, recyclables, trash and glass. For those who lug paper, plastic, tins and glass to their nearest recycling center, Spanjian believes this concept may make a huge difference.

“The biggest complaint that I get from my office is ‘why is it not easy for me to recycle?’ With this idea, we think we can get our diversion rate between 55 and 75%.”

Which means a jump of recycling from barely 15% to nearly three quarters of all our trash being reused or repurposed.

The idea is in the early stages. Spanjian says the next step is to perfect it and resubmit it to Bloomberg’s Philanthropies Mayors Challenge in January.

Should Houston be one of the five winners the city will receive either $1 or 5 million dollars to help put this idea to work and Spanjian believes if anyone can do it Houston can.

“Houston is an innovative city. We put a man on the moon. We’ve revolutionized open heart surgery, and so we think we can transform how people think about trash.”

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