NYC Legislation Would Significantly Boost Recycling

New legislation introduced to the New York City Council would mark the first significant expansion of the city’s residential
recycling program since it was created in 1989.

The legislative package proposes opening a new recycling facility in Brooklyn in 2012 that would process all rigid plastics. Currently, the city only recycles plastics labeled as number 1 or 2. The proposal also calls for increasing the number of public recycling bins from 300 to 600 over the next three years, and rising to 700 by 2020.

The legislation also would mandate at least one department-sponsored household hazardous waste collection event in each borough every year, as well as initiatives for clothing, textile and paint recycling. It also includes provisions for waste characterization studies and composting feasibility studies.

In 1989, the City of New York enacted its first comprehensive
residential recycling law, commonly known as Local Law 19.  The law was
one of the first of its kind in the United States, and its sheer scale–collecting recyclables from every residential building in the City of
New York, and mandating collection from every commercial building–made
it among the most ambitious recycling programs in the world.  Within
ten years of its enactment, the City of New York increased its
residential recycling rate from less than 1% to more than 20%.

City leaders said Local Law 19 is due for anupgrade, and the new
legislation seeks to expand some aspects, while correcting others that
have become unworkable or obsolete.  

"With the 40th anniversary of Earth Day less than two weeks away, this is the perfect time to be looking at ways to make our city even greener," said City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn. "We´re incredibly excited to be introducing a package of bills that will dramatically expand and overhaul the way we recycle here in New York City. Our legislation will divert over 8,000 tons of plastic every year away from landfills and incinerators. That´s equal to the amount of trash produced by nearly 10,000 people each year."

Since the closure of the Fresh Kills landfill on Staten Island in 2002, New York City now spends more than $300 million each year to ship its garbage out of the city–sometimes as far as Ohio and West Virginia.  As a result, waste diverted for recycling makes sense economically and environmentlly. 

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Comments on “NYC Legislation Would Significantly Boost Recycling”

  1. Maurizio Maranghi

    Way to go NYC for taking recycling seriously. I like the idea of having an annual recycling event hosted by each department in a different borough. That is the only way to make change effective: by getting EVERYONE involved.

    – Maurizio Maranghi –

    Reduce, Reuse, Recycle


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