As if the Art Car parade wasn’t sufficient evidence, Houstonians have proven once again that they really know how to turn today’s trash into tomorrow’s treasure. Per Mayor Annise Parker’s announcement, Houston was one of 5 cities selected (out of 305 submissions) that won the Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayoral Challenge. The city will receive a $1 million dollar prize to get the ‘One Bin For All’ concept rolling, along with lots of high-profile publicity from the Huffington Post. Houston was also chosen as the Fan Favorite selection (presumably for having the most number of votes from the Huffington Post website poll), and will receive another $50,000 dollar prize for that. The top prize of $5 million went to Providence, and Houston is one of 5 winners at the $1 million dollar level. Here’s more information directly from the City of Houston Press Release…
“I am thrilled that Houston has been selected as a Mayors Challenge winner,” said Mayor Parker. “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.”
“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,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, philanthropist and Mayor of New York City. “Achieving a 75% recycling recovery rate in Houston would represent a huge leap forward in urban sustainability practices.”
One Bin for All utilizes game-changing technology to separate trash from recyclables, allowing residents to discard all materials in one bin. The anticipated end result is a dramatic increase in the amount of waste diverted from our landfills. Implementation will be achieved through a public/private partnership.
This got me thinking about just what makes Houston a great city. Definitely at the top of the list, is the willingness of our local government to reach out to area businesses and create ground-breaking Public/Private Partnerships. One Bin For All is just the latest, high-profile example, but Houston has been an international leader in innovative “P3s”… whether they be Discovery Green Park, the Bayou Greenways Initiative, or even vital services like Houston Transtar have been achieved through P3s. It’s one reason that Houston, and so many local governments are able to make things happen. The Public/Private Partnership model spurs innovation and leads to the creation of new industries. It makes life better and more interesting for us all.
Maybe our federal leaders should come down, spend some time in Houston, and help Washington work better!!