NYC Restores Plastic Recycling; Glass and Weekly Pickups to Follow

AFTER NEW YORK CITY slashed glass and plastic recycling last year due to citywide budget constraints following Sept. 11, Hugo Neu Schnitzer East (HNSE), Jersey City, N.J., has pitched the city a plastic recycling deal it cannot “refuse.”

As of July, the Big Apple has resumed plastic recycling citywide with an alternate-week collection schedule. HNSE won the city's hand when its final bid entailed paying the city $5.10 per ton for plastic materials, such as beverage, milk and juice cartons. Currently, the city pays $105 per ton to dispose of plastic and glass in the solid waste stream. The bid nearest to HNSE's called for the city to pay $67 per ton for metal and plastic collection and $83 per ton for metal, plastic and glass recycling, according to HNSE.

NYDS's tight budget is causing the alternate-week collection schedule. However, the city hopes to resume weekly recycling in April 2004, the same time it plans to restore glass recycling.

Glass recycling has been delayed because it is more difficult to find a market for the commodity, according to NYDS Spokeswoman Kathy Dawkins. Since 1989, Local Law 19 has made recycling mandatory, so the city has an obligation to reintroduce glass into the recycling stream.

“[As with plastic,] it's up to the industry to take another look at how to recycle glass more effectively,” Dawkins says. The city has a bid from Hugo to re-establish glass recycling, but no contract has been signed.

The NYDS plans to re-educate residents with ads in major newspapers and information postings on community boards. Last year, the sanitation budget was cut $44 million, then restored by $17 million this year. Also, 515 NYDS workers were laid-off within the past few months, and 191 have returned to work. The NYDS does not plan to restore additional jobs.