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[GreenYes] Re: NYC Recycling?

I think this issue is a misunderstanding in a downward spiral.

It is important to distinguish collection from disposal. If one sees
recyclables of any nature being deposited in a landfill or burned in an
incinerator the recycling law or ethic (depending on whether recycling
is mandatory or voluntary in your state) is being circumvented.

However, if ones recyclables are collected in a rear load or front load
collection vehicle, as is often the case with commercial accounts, it
does not automatically mean the vehicle is headed to a landfill. We have
many clients that use rear load or front load vehicles to collect
recyclables for transport to material recovery facilities. These
partially and fully automated loader vehicles are considerably more
efficient than the 'recycling trucks' of the late '80s and early '90s
and are preferred in many markets for recyclables collection.


J W Spear, Sr., P.E.

J Spear Associates
325 West Vine Street
Milwaukee, WI 53212-3605
Telephone (414) 263-5715
Facsimile (414) 435-3110
Mobile (414) 687-0518
Email jw@no.address <>

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From: GreenYes@no.address
[mailto:GreenYes@no.address] On Behalf Of Samantha MacBride
Sent: Tuesday, May 02, 2006 12:00 PM
To: 'Pete Pasterz'; 'David Biddle'; 'Karyn Kaplan'; 'GreenYes'
Cc: 'Grayson, Pat'
Subject: [GreenYes] RE: NYC Recycling?

This may be, but I must point out that all of "NYC" does not
deserve to be tarred with the same brush.

The Department of Sanitation collects over 700,000 tons a year
of paper, metal, glass, and plastic recyclables, in addition to
recycling organic and inert materials through other programs. None of
this is landfilled; it is recycled properly. I do not want anyone,
Michael Moore or otherwise, to get the impression that their efforts to
recycle at home or in public institutions in New York City are at all in
vain. As stated in my first email, it is important not to make a few
street-side observations as a visitor to this town, and then go on to
draw citywide conclusions about what is going on here, or anywhere for
that matter.

As regards the private sector, we have a wide number of carters
here competing for commercial hauling contracts. The way NYC laws are
written, City enforcement ends at the business generator.

Samantha MacBride

Deputy Director, Recycling

Bureau of Waste Prevention, Reuse and Recycling

New York City Department of Sanitation

44 Beaver Street, 6th floor

New York, NY 10010



From: Pete Pasterz [mailto:PAPasterz@no.address]
Sent: Tuesday, May 02, 2006 12:44 PM
To: David Biddle; Samantha MacBride; Karyn Kaplan; GreenYes
Cc: Grayson, Pat
Subject: Re: NYC Recycling?

Most skeptics and non recyclers I talk with cite variations of
this reason: "It all gets landfilled anyway, so why should I bother"

This is the exact issue that Michael Moore raised in his book
"Stupid White Men" on why he no longer recycles, due to his observations
in NYC. Unfortunately, it is NOT just an East Coast or Urban
phenomenon. I have collected a file of many trade and general media
reports from around the country on such incidents of dumping recyclables
over the last 5 years. Most were from just a few companies, with one
being the predominant offender.

When I was the Vice President of the National Recycling
Coalition, I proposed a resolution which would ask 3 things of our

1. To pledge to set policies in our organizations to not
knowingly landfill any items set out for us to recycle.

2. To self report to our customer any internal discoveries of
unintentional landfilling, or that resulting from willful violations of
our policies.

3. To publicly apologize for the incident and to outline the
steps we'll take to prevent it in the future.

Needless to say, this was NOT adopted.

The industry is paying a price for ignoring this, and no amount
of "rebranding" is going to regain the lost trust that this perpetuates.


From: GreenYes@no.address
[mailto:GreenYes@no.address] On Behalf Of David Biddle
Sent: Tuesday, May 02, 2006 11:52 AM
To: Samantha MacBride; Karyn Kaplan; GreenYes
Cc: Grayson, Pat
Subject: dvorak - heuristic [GreenYes] Re: NYC Recycling?
Importance: Low

Samantha and Karyn-

We see the same sort of thing here in Philly and I receive
numerous complaints about haulers "dumping" recyclables and/or seeming
to pick them up in the same truck as trash. Obviously, there is little
control over the private sector and their practices without stringent
enforcement policies in place.

In Philadelphia (and Pennsylvania as a whole) transfer
facilities that seek to separate recyclables from waste must have a
permit to process "mixed waste." This was tried by the industry for a
few years (there were three facilities so permitted in the Philadelphia
area in the mid-90s), but it was found to be wholly impractical and not
economic. Currently, we have no such facilities-and yet I still hear
often about haulers mixing waste and recycling in front- and
rear-loading trucks. Go figure...

The key to solving this problem is writing good contracts
requiring haulers to provide separate collection systems and
documentation on how much material is recycled and where it goes-or,
better, contracting with one hauler for recycling and one for trash. We
have a document on our web site that provides guidelines on how to think
about and write contracts with waste and recycling service vendors . It
may be found at:

In the end, as far as I can tell, so far, facility managers and
business owners are not dictating the terms of service well enough. As
such, they suffer the consequences. We now offer a service to help
re-write contracts through new RFP processes for businesses and
institutions and also provide monthly support in managing programs and
interfacing with service providers.

The lesson in all of this is that if businesses want "out of
sight out of mind," then they run the risk of putting the fox in control
of the henhouse. Forcing the industry to be accountable is the only way
to solve this problem.

David Biddle, Executive Director

P.O. Box 4037
Philadelphia, PA 19118
215-432-8225 (mobile)


Read In Business magazine to learn about sustainable
businesses in communities across North America!
Go to: <>

on 5/2/06 11:21 AM, Samantha MacBride at
smacbride.nycrecycles@no.address wrote:

Dear Ms. Kaplan:

In New York City, businesses are served by private carters
operating in a free market, not by the City's Department of Sanitation,
which services residents and institutions, collecting three separate
streams: commingled paper of all kinds (board and paper); commingled
metal, and glass/plastic/beverage carton containers; and refuse.

Businesses are required to source separate recycling under Local
Law 87 of 1992. Recycling requirements vary by type of business. See
.shtml for details.

Under the current legal/institutional structure, City has no
control over the actions of privately contracted carters once the
businesses place source separated materials at the curb. It is
certainly possible that carters collect refuse and bundled corrugated or
bagged paper in the same truck, without compaction, for post-collection
sorting. In such cases it is perfectly feasible to separate paper and
board from black bagged refuse; the former going to recycling as paper
and board are valuable commodities on the secondary materials market.
Post-collection separation of commingled containers would be more

In addition, if your friends are working in anything other than
a food service venue, then, as you will note, their commercial building
is not required to recycle commingled containers at all, due to the
relatively small amount of non-food service commercial waste streams
that consist of containers. If they work hard to separate out such
containers, the carter has no responsibility to recycle them and most
probably will not, due to the small volumes involved.

If you are interested in learning more about NYC recycling in
general, there are a host of resources at If
you are interested in the commercial waste stream in particular, you may
want to consult the Department's "Commercial Waste Management Study," at

In any event, it is always important to bear in mind that when
you discuss New York City, or most cities/jurisdictions for that matter,
you are not speaking about one monolithic policy and service provider
for all residents, institutions, and businesses; but about an array of
institutions, some of them public and others private; and a variety of
laws and programs. San Francisco may be one exception in this regard,
served as it is by one private corporation for all collections,
residential, institutional and commercial. On the other hand, in
contradistinction to New York, many cities, including Chicago and Los
Angeles, exclude multi-unit buildings from "residential" collection;
where as NYC collects the three streams mentioned above from all 8
million residents, regardless of dwelling type.

What I can assure you, in regard to NYC, is that under the NYC
Department of Sanitation's recycling program that serves residents and
institutions, there are always two source separated streams of recycling
collected separately from refuse; and the notion that some recycling
goes into a refuse truck ultimately to be discarded as refuse is an
urban myth. For more reading on comparative municipal waste policy, you
may want to consult the following reports:

Processing and Marketing Recyclables in New York City

New York City Recycling In Context

Also available at
<> <> .

Good luck with your research,

Samantha MacBride
Deputy Director, Recycling
Bureau of Waste Prevention, Reuse and Recycling
New York City Department of Sanitation
44 Beaver Street, 6th floor
New York, NY 10010

-----Original Message-----
From: GreenYes@no.address [
mailto:GreenYes@no.address] <mailto:GreenYes@no.address%5d>
On Behalf Of Karyn Kaplan
Sent: Tuesday, May 02, 2006 10:35 AM
To: GreenYes
Subject: [GreenYes] NYC Recycling?

I was in NYC recently and a few business people told me that
they work
hard to prepare recyclables and then watch the packer truck come
throw all the recycling in with the trash bags.

Can anyone shed any light on how NYC does it's recycling
collection and
indeed is stuff getting recycled or does it all end up in the
truck, garbage and all?

Karyn Kaplan
University of Oregon

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