New York City wants to cut waste by 90 percent
New York City wants to cut waste by 90 percent Recycled cans and other aluminum products are viewed at the Sims Municipal Recycling Facility on the Brooklyn waterfront in New York City. At left, a barge carries recyclable waste along the East River near Manhattan (Getty Images / Reuters)
New York City wants to cut waste by 90 percent
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The nation's biggest city, New York, in a far-reaching effort to limit its impact on the environment, is announcing the ambitious goal of reducing its waste output by 90 percent by 2030.

The plan includes an overhaul of the city's recycling program, incentives to reduce waste and tacit support for the City Council's plan to dramatically reduce the use of plastic shopping bags. It will be announced by Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio. The announcement came on Earth Day, which was April 22.

New York, which has about 8.5 million residents, would be the largest city in the Western Hemisphere to adopt such a plan, which aims to reduce the amount of its waste by more than 3 million tons from its 2005 level of about 3.6 million tons.

The waste reduction plan is part of an update to the sustainability project created by de Blasio's predecessor, Michael Bloomberg. De Blasio is keeping its components but rebranding it OneNYC.

"The average New Yorker throws out nearly 15 pounds of waste a week, adding up to millions upon millions of tons a year," de Blasio said in a statement to The Associated Press. "To be a truly sustainable city, we need to tackle this challenge head on."

For decades, the city's trash has been exported by rail or barge to South Carolina, Virginia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania or upstate New York. The new plan would eliminate almost all of the garbage exports, which currently cost more than $350 million a year.

The amount of waste produced by the city has fallen 14 percent since 2005 due to an increase in recycling and a key component of the plan is to bolster that output by simplifying the process.

Currently, residential buildings have two types of recycling bins. The city's new single-stream plan, already used by other cities, would consolidate all recycling into one bin by 2020.

Organics such as food scraps and yard waste make up 31 percent of the city's residential waste stream. A program to collect that material directly from residents' homes is being expanded to nearly 200,000 residents by year's end and officials want to serve every home in the city by the end of 2018. The city also will offer economic incentives to participate, potentially including a property tax rebate for homeowners.

The city also aims to reduce commercial waste by 90 percent by 2030 by adopting a program similar to what is being used in residential buildings. That could also mean tax incentives for businesses that participate and fines for ones that dont.

The de Blasio administration stopped short of endorsing a City Council bill that proposes a 10-cent fee on plastic bags, but officials said that reducing their use is a priority and that they would coordinate efforts with the council.

The OneNYC presentation, which is also going to include other capital expenditures meant to improve the city's aging infrastructure, is meant to build on de Blasio's environmental record, which includes a ban on Styrofoam boxes and the goal to reduce carbon emissions from city buildings by 80 percent by 2050.

Environmental groups applauded the plan's wide-ranging scope.

"We see cities all over the world struggling with waste," said Michael Berkowitz, president of 100 Resilient Cities. "A more efficient city is a more resilient city and that means it's a stronger city."

Critical thinking challenge: New York City is the largest city in the Western Hemisphere. Why isn't it the largest city in the world?

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Assigned 21 times

  • Hannahh-Cla
    4/27/2015 - 07:13 p.m.

    Author's Purpose: The author's purpose is to inform you about New York City's goal. It gives information about how they will achieve their goal and how much waste is thrown out every year and how the plan will work.

  • SydneeF-Kut
    4/27/2015 - 07:17 p.m.

    I'm glad city's are stepping up and trying to make the environment better before worse happens. i hope that new York stepping in with inspire other cities to do the same. maybe even inspire average people to do so for no purpose other than saving earth. Thank you new york city for attempting this.

  • CTiffani-Cas
    4/27/2015 - 10:02 p.m.

    New York City is the largest city in the Western Hemisphere, with 8.5 million residents. It is not the largest city in the world because Tokyo is, with 9 million residents.

  • BrigitteA-3
    4/27/2015 - 10:23 p.m.

    Since New York is the nation's biggest city, it wants to try and cut down on the waste produced. The optimistic goal is that by 2030, the waste will be cut down at least 90%. In order to do this, the city is going to simplify the recycling process down to just one type of recycling bins. The city will also strive to try and get a program to every household that will collect all organic waste such as food scraps and yard waste. I think that this is a unique and very efficient idea that all cities to strive to complete no matter their population.

  • noahd-Goo
    4/28/2015 - 09:26 a.m.

    New York wants to cut down on their waste. The text states that they wants to reduce waste 90% by 2030. The text also states that in 2005 their waste was 3.6 million tons. The evidence from the text explains that New York is trying to make a healthy change in their city for their residents.

  • LTaylor-Cas
    4/29/2015 - 11:42 a.m.

    I think it's a very good idea to try and reduce waste by so much considering they are such a large city and all of those people means a lot of waste produced.

  • NashMcComsey-Ste
    4/29/2015 - 11:56 a.m.

    This is quite a goal. But it is exactly what america, and the world, needs. Hopefully this project will be seen through, rather than fall by the wayside. I can only hope that america can be a leading figure in waste reduction in the coming years.

  • rositap-Che
    4/29/2015 - 01:49 p.m.

    I think it's a good idea that New York is doi9ng something to stop waste. Other states should do the same plan like New York is doing and it will help the Earth.

  • fernandoc-Che
    4/29/2015 - 01:51 p.m.

    I really doubt that a place like New York would be able to get rid of ninety percent of there waste. Too many people live in New York to control the waste.

  • CharismaM
    4/29/2015 - 09:16 p.m.

    I'm glad that some places, especially places as big as New York, are finally trying to help the environment. Instead of just adding to the problem, they are actually trying to fix it.

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