New York announces sweeping new trash plan

A comprehensive overhaul to New York’s trash plan, introduced by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and overwhelmingly approved Wednesday night by the New York City Council, is designed to change the way solid waste is handled in the city while bolstering participation in recycling and composting efforts.

According to a New York Times, the 20-year plan includes spending an estimated $360 million to build four marine transport stations to handle the trash loads for each of the city’s boroughs. Presently the majority of the city’s daily 12,000-ton trash load is trucked to independent transfer stations all around the city. The new transport stations would dramatically reduce that traffic and essentially make each borough responsible for handling its own waste. They will also shift much of the out-of-state waste flow off of trucks and onto rail and barge transport. Pending legislative approval, additional plans call for a new recycling center on Pier 52 in Manhattan’s Hudson River Park.

The city will establish an independent office of recycling outreach and education to oversee many of the proposed changes, according to the Times. These include installing recycling bins in subways, parks and other pedestrian-heavy areas; adding soft plastics to the items allowed in curbside bins; and drafting e-waste legislation that will facilitate recycling of the city’s discarded electronics. Further, under the new plan, green waste must be deposited in biodegradable paper bags, landscapers are required to compost their trimmings, and a pilot composting program on Staten Island will be expanded.