Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Recycling in NYC

Here are some waste Factoids from the Council on the Environment of New York City:

NYC residents produce 12,000 tons of waste every day.

Non-recyclable waste generated in New York City is packed on long-haul trucks and driven to landfills in states like Pennsylvania, Ohio and Virginia.

Much of Manhattan’s waste is incinerated across the Hudson in Newark, NJ.

Paper waste that is properly separated from regular garbage is recycled locally or is processed for further recycling overseas. Glass, metal and plastics collected at the curbside are sent to New Jersey, where they are processed and sent to various recycling markets.

Waste in New York City

  • New York City residents currently recycle only about 17% of their total waste—half of what is possible to recycle under the current program.
  • 7.5% of our waste stream consists of plastic film such as bags from the grocery store
  • Clothing and textiles make up 5.7% of our garbage.

Does Recycling Work?

  • Paper recycling makes money for NYC, netting $7.5 million after the costs of collection, though almost 15% of our paper is still thrown in the garbage.
  • Exporting municipal waste for disposal in other communities will cost New York City taxpayers $290 million in 2007.

Food Recycling?

  • 39% of NYC’s waste is organic material, like food scraps and yard waste. Instead of burying this waste in a landfill, it can be composted. Compost is a nutrient-rich, soil-like material made from broken down (i.e. “recycled”) organic material and is a cost-effective, better-quality alternative to chemical fertilizers.
  • Each year, the world mines 139 million tons of phosphate and 20 million tons of potash to replace the nutrients that crops remove from the soil.
  • When New York City collects trees and yard waste for composting, we offset the cost of collection by saving money in landscaping--the program pays for itself!

Waste Less, Breathe More

  • Diesel trucks carry Manhattan’s garbage 7.8 million miles every year. That’s the equivalent of driving more than 312 times around the earth!
  • Landfills are responsible for 36% of all methane emissions in the US, one of the most potent causes of global warming.

Close the Loop – Buy Recycled

  • More than 90 percent of printing and writing paper still comes from virgin tree fiber
Comment: our family has officially started "vermiculture," or worm composting of fruits and vegetable waste. We can also compost non-recyclable paper like napkins and paper towels. Look for more information in upcoming posts.

1 comment:

Lindsay Sturman said...

Our family started composting in California. The kids love the "science project" and it removes food from our garbage daily. We bought a drum-style composter off It's been a few months, and we love it.