Wrapping Up New York's Waste

In 1993, the Industrial Waste Recycling and Prevention (INWRAP) program was founded by the Long Island City Business Development Corporation (LICBDC) to help businesses implement waste reduction and recycling programs. Today, through INWRAP, participating firms are saving more than $1.5 million annually and more than 13,000 tons of nonhazardous waste materials are being diverted annually from landfills.

How INWRAP Helps
Company Material Quantity Amount
Plaxall corrugated boxes 3,000 corrugated boxes Plaxall generated $600 in revenue and saved $2,200 in disposal costs per year.
Abe Munn Picture wood waste 500 cubic yards of sawdust Abe Munn Picture Frames saved approximately $7,000 per year on sawdust disposal and $2,750 annually on other wood wastes.
White Coffee coffee chaff 110 cubic yards per year White Coffee saved $1,500 per year, and 110 cubic yards per year of waste materials were diverted for reuse.
Venus Trimming pleating paper, corrugated boxes 20 tables per month (40 cubic yards) Venus Trimming saved $8,000 per year in disposal costs, along with 1,200 boxes per year being reused by a fabric cutting firm. An additional 480 cubic yards of pleating paper is being reused as packaging by a metal plater.
Gold Seal Garter textile cutting tables 14 tables weighting more than 3 tons with a fair market value of $2,000 Gold Seal Garter saved more than $600 in disposal costs and removed three tons of material from the waste stream.

In the process, INWRAP has helped more than 950 New York City businesses and 250 Long Island businesses reduce, reuse or recycle many materials including cardboard, textiles, metals, glass, plastics, rubber and computer equipment.

INWRAP has accomplished this by developing two areas to assist businesses: a waste reduction and materials management program and a waste materials exchange service through the New York WasteMatch Program.

These programs assist businesses that:

  • Lack in-house management capacity to minimize waste and improve productivity;

  • Are in danger of leaving New York or going out of business because of high costs;

  • Are small-quantity waste generators and users of secondary materials; and

  • Have problematic waste streams, which are difficult to reduce, reuse or recycle.

Most firms receiving assistance are small manufacturers that employ low-income minorities and women in their workforces. In addition, many of these companies use successful waste reduction practices as a starting point for more comprehensive productivity improvement programs.

In the Waste Reduction and Materials Management program, INWRAP staff conducts a facility assessment and customizes a report analyzing cost-saving in waste minimization, recyclables purchasing and recycling operations. They also assist the business in implementing industry- and material-specific recommendations.

Many incentives encourage business participation in these waste programs, including no up-front technical assistance costs. Businesses agree to pay a one-time “fee-for-savings” based on the successful implementation.

The fee, negotiated after completion of the assessment or a material exchange listing qualification, constitutes anywhere from 5 percent to 50 percent of their actual first-year savings or revenues during a two-year period. Also, INWRAP cuts “red tape,” by providing integrated, cost-effective waste minimization services at a low cost and without substantive paperwork. Lastly, to protect businesses, INWRAP's staff signs confidentiality and waiver agreements with participating companies to cover proprietary ad regulatory issues.

One example of a successful reduction program includes formerly Long Island City-based Marcus & Wiesen, an apparel company that generated three tons annually of DuPont Lycra scrap. INWRAP recommended several source-reduction and reuse strategies for optimizing Lycra use, while lowering disposal quantities. Modifications in the spreading and cutting operations, along with the substitution of a continuous spool system, were designed to minimize Lycra, elastic and corrugated core waste.

The company has reduced scrap Lycra by 60 cubic yards per year, saving $4,200. The institution of a continuous feed elastic system is reducing elastic discards by 11 percent, with a $950 per year savings. A reduced collection schedule also has lowered hauler fees by $2,540.

Other companies receiving substantial waste reduction and materials management assistance include Blue Ridge Farms, a large prepared foods company in New York. INWRAP has helped Blue Ridge Farms to reduce their organic waste and recycle cardboard.

“INWRAP has enabled Blue Ridge Farms to save [more than] $145,000 annually in disposal costs while realizing $10,000 in revenues,” says Steve Kaplansky, director of community relations and government affairs.

The WasteMatch Program, sponsored by the New York City Department of Sanitation, helps businesses divert valuable byproducts from their waste streams and enables users to substitute them for virgin materials. In both cases, the goal is to save money while strengthening secondary markets and generating revenues.

WasteMatch participants traditionally are small reuse and recycling generators (less than 1 ton to 2 tons and 30 cubic yards to 60 cubic yards per month). Approximately 50 percent of these generators have flexible arrangements with suppliers, haulers and recyclers. Approximately 60 percent of the program's materials listed and brokered do not have strong secondary market, exchange or reuse values. Also, about 75 percent of all transactions are within a 5- to 10-mile radius.

Through the WasteMatch program, Long Island City, N.Y.-based Abe Munn Picture Frames, which produced 500 cubic yards of sawdust per year, saved $7,000 annually on sawdust disposal and $2,750 on other wood wastes disposal costs. In addition, Venus Trimming & Binding, Long Island City, N.Y., generated 20 bales per month of old corrugated cardboard (OCC) and pleating paper. The company now saves $8,000 annually in disposal costs, and 1,200 boxes per year are being reused by a fabric cutting business. An additional 480 cubic yards of pleating paper is being reused as packaging by a metal plater.

In addition, through WasteMatch, the primary and secondary transport packaging such as pallets, boxes and drums are the most common category of materials transacted. However, items such as magnetic tape, computer equipment, fork lifts, auto parts also have been brokered. Two recent large-scale transactions have included a $50,000 sale of used fuel oil storage tanks and a $40,000 sale of scrap plastic.

Finally, INWRAP helps reduce waste through researching available markets for materials that have limited reuse or for which secondary markets are difficult to identify. To find outlets for these materials, INWRAP uses several resources, such as the Recycled Products Guide.

Also, INWRAP asks companies to provide contacts for other firms they've worked with. For example, through working with a major commercial baker, INWRAP learned about a farm operation that picks up discarded dough and baked products for animal feed at no charge.

INWRAP's funding is provided primarily through public agencies such as the Empire State Development Environmental Management Investment Group, Albany, N.Y.; Washington, D.C.-based U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 2 Solid Waste Management Grants Assistance program; foundations such as The New York Community Trust, New York, and utilities such as Consolidated Edison, New York.

However, substantial revenues are generated from user fees from shared company savings or revenues fees, as well as through vendor referrals fees and contracted program services. During the next three years, INWRAP expects more than 50 percent of its budget to come from these sources.

For more information concerning the INWRAP or the New York WasteMatch programs, call (718) 786-5300, ext. 24, or e-mail johnokun@licbdc.org