To increase the city’s dismal recycling rates, Houston’s government is trying something else: One Bin for All. It will collect all trash together in one bin and then convert it to biofuel.
Instead of trying to overhaul local culture and regulation, the city is working on an ambitious plan to build the first total material resource recovery facility in the U.S.–an innovation that would allow residents to toss all their trash into a single bin, let technology do all the sorting, and emerge in the end with usable products.
“Many companies want to burn your trash, but we don’t want to do that,” says the CRI Catalyst Company in Houston. “(We) can take biomass, wood cardboard, some food and yard waste and turn that into a drop-in fuel to put into a car.”
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The Total Reuse initiative is one of 20 finalists in the Mayor’s Challenge, a Bloomberg Philanthropies competition that will fund innovative ideas in local government.