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Should New York City Stop Recycling?

Financial pressures stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic are forcing cities across the U.S. to take a hard look at municipal budgets. And Howard Husock, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, is of the mind that New York City should take this opportunity to eliminate its recycling programs. 

In a forthcoming paper for the Manhattan Institute, a think thank that aims “to foster greater economic choice and individual responsibility,” Husock explains that by combining recyclables with general refuse (and doing away with the blue recycling bins), the city would save approximately $185 million per year. 

In this era of “post-China recycling economics,” Husock argues that separating out recyclables simply does not make sense. “Incredibly, New Yorkers spend an estimated $101 million to collect 148,000 tons of paper — for which we received $17.7 million in revenue.” And the financial toll related to metal, glass and plastic “is much worse.” 

It may not be a popular idea, but, “At a time when COVID-19 puts frontline workers, including the city’s 7,000 uniformed Sanitation workers at risk and may make staffing more difficult,” simplifying garbage collection is prudent, says Husock. “This is the time to cut back on what amounts to a feel-good service.”

Read the original opinion piece here.

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