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Another important thing Helen may want to keep in mind is that this
recycling deal is only part of NYC's updated solid waste management
plan, which is scheduled to be adopted by the City Council in October.
The SWMP is intended to cover all aspects of the city's solid waste
program, and it is required by state law.
Although I haven't followed the SWMP process in detail this year, my
guess is that NYC will continue to make statements (as it has in past
updates of the plan) that it supports federal Producer Responsibility
Legislation and other ideas that most recycling and waste prevention
advocates would support.
That being said, it is reasonable to question what the city has done to
follow through on such proposals. Chris is right that NYC is not a
state, and thus doesn't necessarily have the capacity to enact
progressive rules on its own, despite the massive size of the local
Since I've been out the policy loop lately, I'll leave it to others from
around NYC to comment on how well the City's lobbyists have been doing
fighting for these 'big' ideas in Albany and Washington.
From: Chris Boyd [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Wednesday, September 15, 2004 12:29 PM
To: Eric Lombardi; 'Helen Spiegelman'; 'Jenny Gitlitz'; 'greenyes'
Cc: 'Pat Franklin'
Subject: RE: [greenyes] FW: [MassRecycle] New York City recommits to
We can always do better. But do you really think that some product
redesign legislation, which would address only products sold in NYC, (an
important market but CA it is not) could possibly begin to meet the
waste management needs of New York City? Do you have some product
redesign ideas/strategies that would substantially address the waste
management needs of NYC now? The operative word, of course, is now. We
can and will work towards more sustainable solutions, but NYC needs
responses that address its needs now.
NYC generates 50,000 tons of waste a day @ 15 million tons/year. It
exports 10 million tons of waste outside its borders every year. About
8 million tons of that material is landfilled or incinerated. A
significant portion of this material is paper and MGP that is not
Compared to where we were just a year ago -- when the entire recycling
program was in jeopardy due to what can only be called an ideological
opposition to the idea of recycling by the Sanitation Department-- this
was a great victory for recycling and New York. Thankfully, some
independent voices demonstrated the failed financial returns by nearly
eliminating recycling and its long-term costs and the City Council won
us some breathing room by not letting the entire MGP program from being
eliminated. In fact, NYC Sanitation wanted to get rid of paper
recycling as well, but was constrained by long-term paper recycling
Also, the vast majority of material is reported to be arriving in barges
that can carry @650 tons of material, keeping thousands of truck-trips
from having to venture into the community and significantly reducing the
Part of the reason that paper is so successful in NYC is that the volume
of material and a long-term contract supports a paper recycling plant
that generated $230 million in private sector investment and employs
over 230 people. It recently added a paper-board operation. Compared
to its plants in the south, I estimate that the transportation savings
alone to bring finished paper board to market in the North East at $18
million per year for this company. Hopefully, a long-term commitment to
MGP recycling will result in similar levels of investment and the
development of a regional remanufacturing industry for MGP.
I look forward to hearing from Steve regarding the RFP process and the
Eric Lombardi <email@example.com> wrote:Helen,
* "There's a flaw in the reasoning here."
* "I ask this GREENYES list -- you, who are supposed to be the 21st
Century thinkers about waste!"
* "I'm bitterly disappointed in Bloomberg -- and in the American
It's so easy to be negative. Perhaps you could share with us your
positive suggestions and solutions? Of course, we all agree that
producers need to be held responsible for their waste (somehow) and that
DFE is the key step forward. So let's not stop there... let's hear some
real "how to's" on the path to your vision.
Meanwhile, I live in a world that when NY dropped recycling many
anti-recyclers around the world used that as "proof" that anything other
than modern landfilling or waste-to-energy was a fantasy. You see,
perception is reality, and NY is viewed by many on the planet as an
important urban center. So, while it's not perfect, I'm glad that NY is
going public that recycling is a more economic approach than
landfilling! Those of us fighting the good fight must celebrate our
small victories, or else we get burned out, overwhelmed by the scale of
the problems, and ultimately cynical and negative... and that just sucks
away our energy. No thank you.
From: Helen Spiegelman [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Tuesday, September 14, 2004 3:20 PM
To: Jenny Gitlitz; greenyes
Cc: Pat Franklin
Subject: Re: [greenyes] FW: [MassRecycle] New York City recommits to
There's a flaw in the reasoning here.
One cannot infer that the city is going to get "amazing returns" on
glass and plastic (not to mention all the other products in which they
inextricably commingled) and that these materials will perform "the way
paper did" just because they are hauled in city sanitation trucks to one
place to be mechanically separated.
Where, I ask this GREENYES list -- you, who are supposed to be the 21st
Century thinkers about waste! -- is the incentive for producers to
What Mayor Bloomberg has done, with all of you cheering him on, is let
producers of all those throwaway products off the hook for a good, long
Here in Canada, the city of Toronto is facing an even more embarrassing
quandary than New York. Their trash is being exported across the border
Michigan (Kerry is even trying to make it an election issue). Toronto's
response has been to pressure for a provincial law that will at least
little chump-change to help cities cover recycling costs. And while
waiting for industry to put their money on the table, the cities are
investing their millions in COMPOSTING PLANTS for the food waste, yard
waste and contaminated paper that is belching GHG into the atmosphere.
I'm bitterly disappointed in Bloomberg -- and in the American public for
not helping him get a better final grade in Waste Management 101 (""The
mayor might have given himself an F on the trash issue not long ago,"
Izeman said, "But in striking this deal, he just turned in an A paper.")
>It will likely drop even further, perhaps to around $20 per ton, as
>picks up a larger share of the more lucrative paper market, which is
>the terms of the contract, he said.
"With this contract, the city does for metal, glass and plastic what it
for paper nearly 10 years ago," said Councilman Michael E. McMahon, a
Island Democrat and chairman of the Council's waste management
>In 1997, the city offered a 20-year contract for 50 percent of the
>paper recycling, and Visy Industries, an Australian recycling company,
>stepped forward to build a $250 million processing plant on Staten
>"That contract gave paper recycling a permanent home, it attracted the
>needed investment to build permanent infrastructure and now the city
>amazing returns on it," Mr. McMahon said. "This contract holds the same
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