New York City to overhaul recycling program

April 27, 2015 0 By Erin Kilgore
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New York City plans to lower its waste by 90% by 2030.

The OneNYC plan, a new environmental plan, which includes overhauling the city’s current recycling system, introducing incentives to decrease waste, and dramatically reducing the use of plastic shopping bags – in order to reach the goal of lowering the city’s waste output by 90% by 2030 – was unveiled on Earth Day in New York City by NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Adopting this plan would decrease the city’s waste by over 3 million tons.

According to the mayor, “The average New Yorker throws out nearly 15 pounds of waste a week, adding up to millions upon millions of tons a year.” He added in his statement that “To be a truly sustainable city, we need to tackle this challenge head on.”

New recycling planIf this plan was adopted by American’s largest city, which is home to an estimated 8.5 million residents, New York City would become the largest city in the Western Hemisphere to implement a plan of this scale. This would be a massive undertaking as the primary goal is to lower the amount of NYC waste by more than 3 million tons from the city’s estimated level of 3.6 million tons in 2005.

The new recycling plan would also cut major costs.

Currently, it costs the city over $350 million every year to export its garbage, which for decades has been exported to upstate New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, or South Carolina. Dramatically reducing waste would naturally mean significantly lowering the cost of exports.

Since 2005, waste production has declined in the city by 14%. This reduction has been the result of a boost in recycling. The new plan intends to further increase the amount that is recycled and also simplify the process, according to The Associated Press.

Instead of the current residential two bin recycling program, the new plan would combine all recycling into a single bin. The goal is to implement the single-stream plan, which has already been adopted by other cities, by 2020.

In addition to recycling, the collection of organic waste (yard waste, food scraps, etc.), which currently makes up 31% of NYC’s residential stream of waste, would be expanded to almost 200,000 residents by the end of the year and will be collected directly from the homes of residents. The city’s goal is to collect organic waste from all homes by the end of 2018.