The Heap

Narrowing the Gap

While recycling materials is still more expensive for New York City than landfilling them, the cost difference is shrinking, according to a study by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) that is summarized in today's New York Times. And recycling could even be cheaper for the city than landfilling within half a decade, the report adds.

The study, which was released by NRDC on Wednesday, says it costs the city $284 a ton to recycle glass, plastic, metal and paper, and $267 to landfill the materials. According to the Times, the cost difference was between $34 and $48 in 2004.

"Here is proof positive that recycling is cost-competitive with other waste disposal, to say nothing of cutting the city's contribution to global warming," said Eric Goldstein, a senior lawyer at NRDC, in the Times' article.

And, so far at least, the city appears to be comfortable with the figures cited in the report. "We have no big disagreement with how they want to look at the numbers," said Lorenzo Cipollina, deputy commissioner for financial management for New York's Department of Sanitation.