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[greenyes] NY Times Editorial says, "Get Recycling Out of the Dumps"

In case y'all weren't hearing me (and the collective activists/advocates here in NYC) on how much NYC has lost by suspending plastics and glass recycling, you can read all about it from a "trusted" news source.


from: The New York Times -April 19, 2003

Get Recycling Out of the Dumps

Last year, Mayor Michael Bloomberg told New York City residents to put away their bins for plastics and glass and suspended that part of municipal recycling. The move was supposed to save money and buy time to improve the programs. But it turns out that the savings were mostly illusory, and the Bloomberg administration's commitment to sorting out its trash problems seems shaky.

The July 1 deadline for a resumption of plastics recycling approaches, but the city still does not have a new recycling contract in hand. Last November, a New Jersey company offered to pay $5.10 a ton for metal and plastic recyclables — until then, the city had expected to pay someone to take that combination. But officials say they are still examining the bid.

Even if the Sanitation Department meets its deadline on plastics, it cannot ignore the importance of glass as part of the recyling program. Glass recycling — now scheduled to resume on July 1, 2004 — is more expensive, and the reclaimed glass is harder to sell.

But the Department of Sanitation, which has never been enthusiastic about recycling in any form, turns out to have overestimated how much the program costs. Once the cost of hauling away the larger regular garbage collections was taken into account, the city's savings amounted to perhaps only $10 million, not the $50 million the department projected last year. Other cities have coupled recycling programs with more efficient trash collection routes. New York needs to look in that direction, too, since right now many trucks return at the end of a shift only half-full.

Recycling is just part of the city's gargantuan trash problem. Since Mayor Rudolph Giuliani closed the Fresh Kills landfill, garbage has been trucked to landfills as far away as Ohio and Virginia. Every step of this huge operation incurs costs, economically and environmentally, which continue to grow — rising 46 percent in the last three years.

Mayor Bloomberg hoped to streamline operations by fixing up the city's eight marine transfer stations so rubbish could be put into containers, then on barges and trains. But his two-year deadline was as unrealistic as the estimated cost, which may end up being $50 million per station at a time the city is in the grips of a severe fiscal crisis.

Solving the garbage problem is one thing the city cannot duck, or defer until times improve. But in the short term, the Sanitation Department needs to struggle for greater productivity and do more than just go through the motions on restoring recycling.

Timothy J.W. Logan
P.S.  Reports from the NYC Comptroller's Office are likely to suggest it actually cost the City a few million as opposed to save a few million as the article suggests.  Check the NYC Waste Prevention Coalition May 2002 report that offered greater savings and opportunities see

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