A report by Crain’s New York Business has claimed that Mayor de Blasio’s plans to stop sending the city’s waste to landfills by 2030 is ambitious… but also highly unlikely to be achievable.
The report quotes several waste and resources experts, including the manager of the New York City chapter of the National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA), who told Crain’s that “This zero-waste idea seems to be without any real plan behind it. Other cities, like Austin and Calgary, went through a very deliberate process of developing a detailed set of goals and plans to achieve them. New York’s plan has been pretty loose, without much public discussion, just rhetoric.”
It is reported that New Yorkers generate more than 44 million pounds of residential and commercial waste daily — almost a ton per person per annum — yet only one-third is recycled, incinerated or composted. The rest, it states, is “shipped to out-of-state landfills.”
Tom Outerbridg runs the 11-acre Sunset Park Material Recovery Facility on the Brooklyn waterfront, and he told the report that New York City may have the largest curbside recycling program in North America, collecting around 500,000 tons of recyclable material a year, but that 27 years after the city required residents to sort their recycling, it is still only collecting recyclables at a capture rate of 16%; half the recyclable waste is going to landfills, he explained.
The report does acknowledge the challenges faced in New York: high occupancy homes, limited space for bins and one-in-ten New Yorkers living in public housing, but it seems that the 2030 target of zero waste to landfill is a long way off.
You can read the report in full here. The story was also reported in the New York Post