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City offers free composting services to Houstonians looking to reduce landfill contributions

Looking to start composting? This is your month to try it out with free drop-off spots in Houston. Photo via Getty Images

The City of Houston Solid Waste Management Department is launching a free Food Waste Drop-Off pilot program through the end of February.

The program is in collaboration with Council Member Sallie Alcorn, Zero Waste Houston and the City of Houston Health Department, and allows residents to drop off food scraps at four different locations. The locations are:

  • Kashmere Multi-Service Center, Mondays from 2 to 5 pm
  • Acres Homes Multi-Service Center, Tuesdays from 2 to 5 pm
  • Alief Neighborhood Center, Wednesdays from 4 to 7 pm
  • Sunnyside Multi-Service Center, Thursdays from 3 to 6 pm

Houston residents, businesses, and institutions generate 6.2 million tons of municipal solid waste per year according to the Solid Waste Department program.

“You’ll find when you start composting your food scraps, there is a lot less trash generated in your home, at your curb, and taken to the landfill,” Alcorn says in a news release.

The Solid Waste Management Department provides solid waste services with the collection, disposal, and recycling of discarded material in an environmentally-friendly and cost effective way.

“The Solid Waste Department is eager to continue to provide innovative programs that divert waste from the landfill and actively engage Houston residents,” says Mark Wilfalk, Director of Solid Waste Management in the release.

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A View From HETI

Houston could have ranked higher on a global report of top cities in the world if it had a bit more business diversification. Photo via Getty Images

A new analysis positions the Energy Capital of the World as an economic dynamo, albeit a flawed one.

The recently released Oxford Economics Global Cities Index, which assesses the strengths and weaknesses of the world’s 1,000 largest cities, puts Houston at No. 25.

Houston ranks well for economics (No. 15) and human capital (No. 18), but ranks poorly for governance (No. 184), environment (No. 271), and quality of life (No. 298).

New York City appears at No. 1 on the index, followed by London; San Jose, California; Tokyo; and Paris. Dallas lands at No. 18 and Austin at No. 39.

In its Global Cities Index report, Oxford Economics says Houston’s status as “an international and vertically integrated hub for the oil and gas sector makes it an economic powerhouse. Most aspects of the industry — downstream, midstream, and upstream — are managed from here, including the major fuel refining and petrochemicals sectors.”

“And although the city has notable aerospace and logistics sectors and has diversified into other areas such as biomedical research and tech, its fortunes remain very much tied to oil and gas,” the report adds. “As such, its economic stability and growth lag other leading cities in the index.”

The report points out that Houston ranks highly in the human capital category thanks to the large number of corporate headquarters in the region. The Houston area is home to the headquarters of 26 Fortune 500 companies, including ExxonMobil, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and Sysco.

Another contributor to Houston’s human capital ranking, the report says, is the presence of Rice University, the University of Houston and the Texas Medical Center.

“Despite this,” says the report, “it lacks the number of world-leading universities that other cities have, and only performs moderately in terms of the educational attainment of its residents.”

Slower-than-expected population growth and an aging population weaken Houston’s human capital score, the report says.

Meanwhile, Houston’s score for quality is life is hurt by a high level of income inequality, along with a low life expectancy compared with nearly half the 1,000 cities on the list, says the report.

Also in the quality-of-life bucket, the report underscores the region’s variety of arts, cultural, and recreational activities. But that’s offset by urban sprawl, traffic congestion, an underdeveloped public transportation system, decreased air quality, and high carbon emissions.

Furthermore, the report downgrades Houston’s environmental stature due to the risks of hurricanes and flooding.

“Undoubtedly, Houston is a leading business [center] that plays a key role in supporting the U.S. economy,” says the report, “but given its shortcomings in other categories, it will need to follow the path of some of its more well-rounded peers in order to move up in the rankings.”

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This article originally ran on InnovationMap.

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