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

New York has about 8.5 million residents. It would be the largest city in the Western Hemisphere to adopt such a plan. Its aim is to reduce the amount of the city's waste by more than 3 million tons from its 2005 level. That was about 3.6 million tons.

The waste reduction plan is part of an update to the 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. That adds up to 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. It is sent to South Carolina, Virginia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania or upstate New York. The new plan would eliminate almost all of the garbage exports. They cost the city more than $350 million a year.

The amount of waste produced by the city has fallen 14 percent since 2005. That is due to an increase in recycling. 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 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. The goal is to reach nearly 200,000 residents by year's end. Officials want to serve every home in the city by the end of 2018. The city also will offer economic incentives to participate. The incentives could eventually include a property tax rebate for homeowners.

The city also aims to reduce commercial waste by 90 percent by 2030. It would adopt a program similar to what is being used in residential buildings. That could also mean tax incentives for businesses that participate. Those that don't take part could be fined.

The de Blasio administration stopped short of endorsing a City Council bill. It proposes a 10-cent fee on plastic bags. Officials said that reducing their use is a priority.

The OneNYC presentation is meant to build on de Blasio's environmental record. That includes a ban on Styrofoam boxes. The goal is 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. He is 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 116 times

  • MGallagher
    4/27/2015 - 08:54 p.m.

    New York is announcing a plan to reduce its waste output by 90 percent by 2030. All of the garbage exports cost NY over $350 million per year. They plan to ban Styrofoam boxes. They also want to provide a ten cent tax on plastic bags. Officials want to server every home in New York by 2018.

  • Eric0221-YYCA
    4/27/2015 - 08:59 p.m.

    I think that this might be good for the earth because reducing a whole lot of waste is good for the earth which means that it will reduce landfills from cities or reduce a lot of trash going into the oceans or nearby water sources. Well if New York is reducing 90 percent of the trash from landfills, I think that New York cares about taking care of the earth from global warming or droughts.

  • Emiliano-Kut
    4/27/2015 - 09:46 p.m.

    90% cut down on waste by 2030! That is a big task for one of the biggest cites on the western hemisphere. But in my concern is that recycling isn't for all materials like plastic bags should just be simply refuse or changed to paper bags.

  • RachelE-Kut
    4/27/2015 - 09:46 p.m.

    For New York it will be hard to decrease the amount of waste if the population keeps increasing, so if we try to decrease the population it might word but it will be way harder.

  • SOlivia-Cas
    4/27/2015 - 09:49 p.m.

    I think it's great that New York wants to start a plan to help recover our planet. They have a huge population and are a big chunk of waste production in the United States. Something definitely needs to be done and fast all throughout the world. Global warming is alive and being seen every day and something needs to be done before it's too late. We are the only ones who can save us.

  • GabiD-1
    4/27/2015 - 10:42 p.m.

    New York has an ambitious goal of reducing its waste by ninety percent, because the average New Yorker throws out nearly 15 pounds of waste a week. The plan includes an overhaul of the city's recycling program, incentives to reduce waste dramatically, and reduce the use of plastic shopping bags. The announcement came out on April 22 or Earth day.

  • Miah-Pav
    4/28/2015 - 09:55 a.m.

    I think it's awesome that New York City is planning to reduce the amount of waste! Since NYC is such a popular and populated city, a lot of trash is thrown out a day. I believe it will be a difficult task, but New Yorkers can do anything.

  • Annamariea-Pav
    4/28/2015 - 09:58 a.m.

    I think that helping the environment by starting to clean NYC is a great idea. It is important to keep such a large city clean, and hopefully it could impact other larger cities to do the same. It is important to keep the environment clean.

  • Lindsaya-Pav
    4/28/2015 - 09:59 a.m.

    New York's plan to decrease the amount of waste produced by 90 percent is going to be challenging. However, I believe it can be accomplished with everyone's participation. Global warming and land fills are ruining the environment, so reducing the trash produced in the city can make a huge difference. I hope New York can follow through with this plan.

  • Meghans-Pav
    4/28/2015 - 09:59 a.m.

    It is really cool that the people in New York are making an effort to reduce the amount of waste that they produce. As humans we tend to throw everything away without even thinking where it all ends up. Now that New York is doing something about the amount of waste maybe other states will follow there lead and everyone will begin to reduce the amount of waste produced in our world. By starting of little something big can come from this.

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