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Houston wins $1 million runnerup Bloomberg prize

From the Mayor’s office:

Mayor Annise Parker today announced that Houston’s One Bin for All idea is one of the five winners in the Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayors Challenge, a competition to inspire American cities to generate innovative ideas that solve major challenges and improve city life – and that ultimately can be shared with other cities to improve the well-being of the nation. Houston was selected as a Mayors Challenge winner out of a pool of over 300 applicant cities, based on four criteria: vision, ability to implement, potential for impact, and potential for replication.  Houston will receive a $1 million innovation prize to help implement its One Bin for All idea. As the winner of the Mayors Challenge Fan Favorite Selection, Houston will receive a $50K in-kind grant from IBM to support the implementation of its One Bin For Allidea as well as featured coverage and promotion from The Huffington Post, including a monthly front page column for a year and an interview with Arianna Huffington on Huff Post Live. The City will also receive a sculpture created by world-renowned designer Olafur Eliasson to commemorate each of the Mayors Challenge winners.

“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.

Here’s the background, and here’s the Chron story. Providence, RI was the big winner:

Rhode Island’s capital city has won a $5 million contest created by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg with a high-tech plan to overcome a language skills problem known as the word gap that puts low-income children at a profound disadvantage in the classroom.

Providence was one of 305 cities that pitched an idea to Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayors Challenge, a contest designed to spur innovation in America’s cities. Houston, Philadelphia, Chicago and Santa Monica, Calif., were selected for $1 million runner-up prizes. The winners are set to be announced Wednesday in New York.

Providence’s winning proposal will equip low-income children with recording devices that count the words and conversations they are exposed to. Combined with coaching lessons for parents,, the plan is designed to help poor children overcome a language skills deficit that develops before they even start kindergarten.

A landmark 1995 study found that children in families receiving welfare hear less than one-third as many words per hour as their more affluent peers and will reach age four having heard 32 million fewer words than children from professional families. Research shows the word deficit is tied to later academic performance and employment opportunities.

“Education is the path out of poverty; I know, because I have followed it,” Providence Mayor Angel Taveras told The Associated Press. “We need to make sure that path is available to more kids. The first teacher in a child’s life is a child’s parent. We can do something to help them.”

That’s pretty cool, too. Congrats to Providence, Houston, and the other runners-up. I look forward to seeing these proposals get turned into reality.

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4 Comments

  1. Robert Nagle says:

    But nothing for multi-units?

  2. […] you know, last week the city announced that it had won the $1 million runnerup prize from the Bloomberg Foundation that would enable it to begin work on a single-bin solution for solid waste and recycling. While […]

  3. […] you know, last week the city announced that it had won the $1 million runnerup prize from the Bloomberg Foundation that would enable it to begin work on a single-bin solution for solid waste and recycling. While […]

  4. […] week, I asked several environmental groups for feedback on the city’s One Bin For All proposal. I said I would follow up on that with the city. I have their response here, but before I […]

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