Need to Know

Crain’s Slams New York City Mayor’s Waste Reduction Plan

Crain’s New York Business published a lengthy report questioning Mayor Bill de Blasio’s ambitious zero waste plan for New York City by 2030. It pointed at the many obstacles to getting there, including the high costs of recycling, the city’s current recycling rate and the state of the municipal solid waste infrastructure.

Here’s a passage from the report:

New Yorkers generate more than 44 million pounds of residential and commercial waste every day, almost a ton per person per year. Only a third of it is recycled, composted or burned to generate energy. The rest is dumped, some as far away as Kentucky. Mayor Bill de Blasio wants to radically change that equation. Last year, he pledged that New York would send “zero waste” to landfills by 2030. “This is the way of the future if we’re going to save our Earth,” he said.

But anyone who knows anything about waste in New York seems to agree: Keeping it all out of landfills by 2030 isn’t just ambitious, it’s pretty much impossible.

“This zero-waste idea seems to be without any real plan behind it,” said Kendall Christiansen, manager of the New York City chapter of the National Waste & Recycling Association. “Other cities, like Austin and Calgary, went through a very deliberate process of developing a detailed set of goals and plans to achieve them. New York’s plan has been pretty loose, without much public discussion, just rhetoric.”

Read the full report here.


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