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[GreenYes] Re: Our pal Bloomberg slashes recycling
Pat wrote some questions; I've interspersed some answers:

>         I listened to the mayor's speech over the internet and am still
>confused as to what he is proposing.  Is he proposing that the
>city eliminate curbside recycling and/or is he proposing that
>the state repeal the bottle bill?  Can anyone enlighten me on

My understanding is that he will be axing the metal, glass and plastic 
portion of the City's mandatory recycling program, in direct violation of 
the City's Local Law 19 of 1989, which requires that the city divert 25% of 
its waste tonnage to recycling by 1994.  The City has fought this in court 
seven times and lost seven times, and the worst they get is a new schedule 
from the judge.  It's a conundrum that the Council would like to fix but 
hasn't figured out how yet. (ANY IDEAS OUT THERE?)

In addition, the Mayor is looking to modify the bottle bill (at least in 
NYC) so that the deposits collected are not returnable to those bringing 
bottles back (meaning that they are a tax, which the City will collection, 
and meaning that no one will have an incentive to bring bottles back, so 
the capacity set up in the thousands of retail stores for storing bottles 
will be lost).  I don't know if he is allowed to do this, or how he would 
be planning to make this change, but I would think the state legislature 
would have to agree.  It took the state upwards of 10 years to pass our 
bottle law in the first place.

>         I wonder if you are aware of a report prepared by Science
>Applications International Corporation (SAIC) for the New York City
>Department of Sanitation says the city would realize considerable
>benefits by expanding the state's bottle bill requiring a 5-cent
>refundable deposit on beer and soft drink cans and bottles.

Yes, the NYC Waste Prevention Coalition and the Citywide Recycling Advisory 
Board made extensive comments on this 10 volume research report, which 
included much more than just the bottle law -- see the website for our 

>The purpose of the study  was to determine the costs and savings to
>the city if the state's 17 year-old deposit law were expanded.
>         The report, released in September 2000,  recommended that
>New York City support an expanded bottle bill that would include
>wine and liquor bottles and non-carbonated beverage containers
>such as juice drinks, sports drinks and bottled water and raise
>the deposit from 5 to 10 cents.
>         The Packaging Restrictions Report, which was written
>in 1997, projected that if the bottle bill were expanded, New
>York City would remove an additional 190,000 tons of waste per
>year (primarily glass and plastic) from the waste stream and
>reduce waste management costs by more than $8.6 million a year
>by 2000.  Reduction of litter on New York City streets would be an
>added benefit.
>         The SAIC report said the efficiency of the city's commercial
>recycling program "is limited by the value of the materials collected;
>since PET and glass are low value high volume commodities, the
>economic incentive is minimal. Expanding deposit legislation to
>include PET and glass would provide a strong incentive to remove
>these materials from the waste stream."

All this is very useful, to most of us, but NYC DOS has a history of 
ignoring its consultants' reports, and in this specific case, the DOS 
actually wrote in the introduction that it did not necessarily support the 
conclusions or recommendations of this multi-million dollar report.  In 
fact, DOS delayed the publication of the report for years, leaving everyone 
to wonder what was happening to it in the interim.

Maggie Clarke, Ph.D.
Environmental Scientist and Educator
New York City 
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