Good Idea

The city of Houston announced the winners of its Recycle Ike contest, which offered cash rewards for ideas about how to recycle the 5 million cubic yards of green waste left from Hurricane Ike.

First prize of $10,000 was awarded to a group from Rice University that suggested converting the green waste to biomass charcoal. The group will use the prize money to build a pilot bioreactor on its campus.

"We need to keep this waste out of our landfills, and coming up with new markets for recycling green material is good for our region, both environmentally and economically," said Houston Mayor Bill White, in a press release.

Second prize of $5,000 went to Samuel Weaver for his idea to bury wood waste in sand pits and collecting the methane produced by the decaying wood.

Third prize of $2,500 was awarded to Ian Ragsdale, who proposed using wood waste as mulch, compost and growing material in a system of urban farms around the city.