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[greenyes] NYC spent more money not recycling than recycling-here's an update
----- Original Message ----- 
From: Timothy J.W. Logan 
To: GAIA Members ; GrassRoots Recycling Network ; 'Katrina Miller' 
Sent: Wednesday, April 09, 2003 3:52 PM
Subject: NYC spent more money not recycling than recycling-here's an update

Trash Talkers (in response to requests for update about state of recycling in NYC):
CC:  Eddie Bautista, Lead Organizer - OWN; Barbara Warren, Technical Advisor - OWN; Dr. Maggie Clarke - Vice Chair, NYC Waste Prevention Coalition; Resa Dimino, President, GRRN; Annie Leonard, U.S. based Organizer for GAIA

Following a NY City Council hearing on recycling last week, I spoke to a staffer at the NYC Comptroller's Office today.  They are in the process of recalculating the numbers on cost vs. savings of NYC's recycling program following it's suspension of glass and plastics recycling, passed last June and implemented July 1, 2002.  It appears their analysis will likely suggest that NYC spent $7.5 million more exporting waste to landfills and incinerators then they would have had they continued their woefully inadequate recycling program.  This stands in stark contrast to the $40 million that the City's Department of Sanitation (DSNY) claims to have saved.

I am further disgusted as I consider that the NYC Waste Prevention Coalition offered up as much as $35.4 million in immediate savings opportunities.  NYC's approach cost at least 500 jobs in the private sector, significantly more than would have been cut in the public sector had NYC followed the Waste Prevention Coalition's approach.  

With that in mind, two legislative initiatives are now front and center.  At the state level, the "Bigger Better Bottle Bill", an EPR-sectoral approach (expansion of existing deposit law , already introduced in both houses of our legislature), and a "Zero Waste" resolution directing DSNY in what direction they should be planning for the next 15-20 years.
The one potential benefit of the City's inability to save money suspending recycling is the way that it has elevate the issue of solid waste in New York and our City Council now has the opportunity to step up to the plate and demand progressive changes to NYC's Solid Waste Management Plan, a draft of which is expected to be issued in spring 2004.

For more information please visit:

Organization of Waterfront Neighborhoods' (OWN) Plan Taking out the Trash 
issued May 2000

NYC Waste Prevention Coalition report Why Waste the Future? issued May 2002 

NYC Waste Prevention Coalition's website 
NYC Comptroller's initial look at recycling's fiscal impact on budget 2 Dec., 2002
NYC Comptroller's call to NYS - pass the "Bigger Better Bottle Bill" 10 Jan., 2003

NYC Comptroller's call to DSNY to fully reinstate recycling 7 Mar., 2003

I'd like to thank folks from around the world (not to forget about all the leaders here in NYC), primarily working through GRRN ( and GAIA ( for supporting our work here in NYC... and ask you for any additional support you may be able to offer as we plan the next crucial year in NYC's solid waste management planning.

Timothy J.W. Logan
Urban Infrastructure Coordinator, New York City Environmental Justice Alliance
Technical Advisor, Organization of Waterfront Neighborhoods
Chair, NYC Waste Prevention Coalition

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