New York City Aims for Zero Waste by 2030

New York City Aims for Zero Waste by 2030

New York City aims to reduce the amount of waste disposed of by 90 percent by 2030 and send zero waste to landfills by that point, according to its new plan for the city.

Mayor Bill de Blasio presented his plan with the release of One New York, which calls for a sustainable and resilient city. Solid waste and environmental goals are a cornerstone of the plan.

The city plans to reduce waste by 90 percent from a 2005 baseline, according to the report.  It cites the recent decision to ban expanded polystyrene foam as one step toward that end.

The sustainability plan includes the expansion of New York City’s organics curbside collection and local drop-off site programs to serve all New Yorkers by the end of 2018. The city also hopes to implement single-stream recycling collection for metal, glass, plastic and paper products by 2020.

“Environmental and economic sustainability must go hand in hand–and OneNYC is the blueprint to ensure they do,” deBlasio said in a statement. “Today, we are laying out specific goals to make sure that as we build a stronger, more sustainable and more resilient city, we are also creating a more equitable one.”

New York City’s other waste initiatives include reducing the use of plastic bags and other non-compostable waste; giving every New Yorker the opportunity to recycle and reduce waste; making all schools zero waste schools; expanding opportunities to reuse and recycle textiles and electronic waste; developing a blueprint for a Save-as-You-Throw program to reduce waste; and reducing commercial waste disposal by 90 percent by 2030.

Other sustainability goals in the plan include an 80-percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 compared with 2005; cleaning up Brownfield contaminated sites and convert them to beneficial use; and achieving the best air quality among all large U.S. cities by 2030.

The Transform Don’t Trash NYC coalition of various advocacy groups applauded the report. “Mayor Bill de Blasio is tackling the problems of the private sanitation industry head-on through the ambitious and achievable goals of OneNYC,” the group said in a statement.

The city has been consistently aggressive in recent years on waste reduction issues.

In January the city banned single-use expanded polystyrene foam items and packaging beginning July 1, determining that the material cannot be recycled. In October 2014 it launched a campaign to help residents unsubscribe from unwanted mail waste to their homes. The city established a public education campaign to connect residents to a free online tool established by GreeNYC to opt of junk mail. The city said New Yorkers get an estimated 2 billion pieces of waste junk mail annually.

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