Saturday, November 26, 2011

NYC Lags Behind Other Cities in Recycling

The October 21 New York Times featured an article titled, Lunch, Landfills, and What I Tossed. Author Mireya Navarro counted up the waste she produced in a week's worth of take out lunches:
"Saving all the packaging from a week’s worth of takeout food, I ended up with three plastic yogurt containers, a paper salad box, a paper cereal bowl, two Styrofoam plates, one plastic salad-dressing container and seven plastic food containers — the rigid ones with snap-on lids. Also, five plastic cups (each with a plastic straw), a paper cup with a plastic lid, a plastic water bottle and a plain old paper cup (it held milk for my cereal). Also, one plastic fork, one plastic knife and two compostable plastic spoons, which I threw out rather than composting."

Besides the individual trying to brown bag it and otherwise cut down on waste, there is another problem--New York City is lagging behind many others in its recycling:

"A survey by the Natural Resources Defense Council this year found that more than two dozen large and medium-size cities in the United States recycle all kinds of plastic containers, while New York takes only bottles and jugs."

Environmental advocates call recycling the weak link in the city’s green agenda, even after legislation was passed last year to overhaul the 1989 recycling law that made New York a 20th-century leader, not a laggard.

How far behind is the city? A survey by the Natural Resources Defense Council this year found that more than two dozen large and medium-size cities in the United States recycle all kinds of plastic containers, while New York takes only bottles and jugs. Another study this year ... ranked New York 16th among 27 cities in its handling of waste, though it was third in overall environmental performance.

Cutting-edge green cities, like San Francisco, offer curbside collection of food scraps and compostable items at homes, restaurants and offices. And dozens of places now charge residents for their trash by weight to promote recycling and keep refuse out of landfills."

The author points out that NYC is going backwards as far as recycling, currently recycling about 15% of the waste collected by the Sanitation Department down from 23% in 2001. Environmentalists feel the issue is not getting the attention it deserves from Mayor Bloomberg and City Hall. You can google the title of the article, "Lunch, Landfills and What I Tossed" to read the entire
piece online.

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