The New York City Waste Prevention Coalition today released report detailing alternatives to NYC Mayor's proposal to cut all Waste Prevention, Composting and MGP Recycling - use links to see report and/or read the press release below.
Press Release follows:
Don’t Kill It, Fix It!
City-Wide Group Releases New Report Detailing Ways City Can Save Recycling, Waste Prevention Programs and Generate Savings, Revenue;
$35 + Million in Savings Identified in Report
Today, the New York City Waste Prevention Coalition released a new report, “Why Waste the Future? Alternatives to the Mayor’s Proposed Waste Prevention, Composting and Recycling Cuts,” which details ways in which the City can retain its recycling, waste prevention and composting programs, by outlining budget savings and revenue generating ideas – to the tune of more than $35 million.
The Coalition, a network of organizations and individuals dedicated to promoting waste prevention as the most responsible, environmentally sound and cost-effective means to solve the City’s mounting solid waste problems, presented four broad categories of recommendations in its report:
· The City has overstated alleged “potential savings” to be found in cutting metal, glass and plastic recycling by nearly $12 million.
· The City needs to invest in recycling infrastructure:
o The City should build a publicly owned MRF. A Columbia University Study estimates that the City could save over $20 million per year by building a publicly owned recyclables sorting facility.
o The City needs to promote recycling business development. The Visy paper mill on Staten Island stands out as a recycling business success story, but the City hasn’t tried to copy this success by targeting other recyclable materials for similar business development.
· The City can raise revenues by:
o Imposing a fee on CFC removal services. The service is now free, and imposing a small, $20. fee would raise approximately $2.9 million a year.
o Increasing the number of recycling violations and expanding the size of the enforcement force. One of the weakest parts of all the recycling and waste programs is the enforcement of rules, and the leveling of fines for those who break the rules. Stricter enforcement would not only force many institutions and individuals to take recycling and waste management seriously, it could raise between $1.6 and $11 million per year.
· The City can cut costs by making some changes to the Department of Sanitation’s collection policies. The report identifies four changes that together will save between $17.5 and $21.5 million per year:
o Ban the collection of grass clippings. Encouraging “leave-it-on-the-lawn” programs could save the City $7-10 million per year.
o Eliminate work rules that create inefficient collection routes.
o Eliminate extra waste collection pickups. Even though the City added additional collection routes to handle recyclable materials nearly 10 years ago, changes were never made to regular collection routes, even though recycling actually eliminates a significant part of the waste stream. Estimated savings--up to $9.3 million a year.
o Expand dual bin truck use. The Department of Sanitation claims it uses dual bin trucks in all neighborhoods “where they make economic sense.” This is clearly not the case. Adding neighborhoods could save as much as $1.2 – 2.2 million per year.
The Coalition report also outlines a “Five –Year Action Plan” for increasing and phasing in waste prevention, recycling and composting programs in communities, City agencies and the private sector.
“The New York Waste Prevention Coalition has done research and proposed various new ideas in ‘Why Waste the Future’ which would save, nearly dollar for dollar, the amount of money the Mayor has proposed slashing from the budget for these programs and these changes can be implemented by July 1st,” said Timothy J.W. Logan, Chair of the Waste Prevention Coalition.
“New York City’s waste management system is at a critical juncture. Waste export costs are ballooning, but, unfortunately, the Mayor’s proposed solution – saving money by cutting waste prevention, recycling and composting programs – takes the City’s waste management system back toward policies that the public and elected officials long-ago rejected. Our report presents recommendations that can save money and even raise revenues without jeopardizing a truly cost-effective, equitable and environmentally sound waste strategy,” commented Dr. Majorie J. Clarke, Vice-Chair of the NYC Waste Prevention Coalition.
Also present at the briefing were numerous Coalition supporting organizations as well as members and staff of Council members. The briefing was held immediately after the City Council held hearings on the Department of Sanitation’s proposed budget.
"The Sanitation and Solid Waste Committee, which I chair, would like to applaud the Waste Prevention Coalition for their efforts in putting together this report. This is the type of research and thinking that the Department of Sanitation should be doing, finding ways to save money, keep reducing and recycling waste, and save valuable public and private jobs that fuel our City's tax base," said Councilmember Michael McMahon (D-SI).
“The Mayor’s proposed cuts to these important programs are not only bad for the City, but fly in the face of State programs and law as well,” said Sue Craine, consumer advocate from the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG). “The proposed cuts threaten to take us all back to a time when streets were dirtier and government didn’t seem to care about the condition of the environment in our neighborhoods,” she added.
“These programs are needed, and we’ve found ways to keep them that are both environmentally and fiscally sound. Our message to the Mayor is, ‘Don’t kill it, fix it,’” said Mr. Logan.
Full copies of the report can be obtained by calling or e-mailing LCG Communications – 718.853.5568; firstname.lastname@example.org; calling the Waste Prevention Coalition – 212.239.8882; or by accessing the following website: http://everest.hunter.cuny.edu/~mclarke/WPComm.htm