4 Steps to Sanitation Solutions: Lessons from New York

NYC has long been a leader when it comes to climate change action. However, like any large city, one of the biggest challenges that NY faces is dealing with its waste. New Yorkers produce an estimated 15 pounds of trash per week—placing immense stress on the city’s waste management program. In response, city leaders have developed a sustainability plan that seeks to radically reduce the amount of waste, and eliminate the need to send any waste to out-of-state landfills by 2030.

NYC has already implemented numerous citywide sanitation measures, but plan to expand these programs through a series of innovative approaches.

4 Step Action Plan

  1. Bringing together community leaders: The city has sought consultation from civic officials, non-profits, waste management experts, and the business community to determine the most feasible and effective ways to address excessive garbage.
  2. Identifying sources of waste: Knowing the location, sources, and the type of waste will enable sanitation officials to develop the most effective strategies to mitigate and manage the waste.
  3. Developing composting capabilities: The city is building on existing programs to decrease food waste and increase the capacity to compost organics.
  4. Implementing high-tech solutions: Utilizing the newest tech, the city plans to encourage better waste sorting and recycling, add efficient dehydration processors, and increase the ability to turn waste into usable goods like fertilizer.

Community and civic leaders in New York City are illustrating that even one of the world’s great cities can take bold measures and enact climate solutions. Learn how to inspire action on climate in your community by checking out Path to Positive.

Panel Preview: Waste Not, Want Not

Urban Green Council | July 15, 2015 

In order for NYC to send zero waste to out-of-state landfills by 2030—one of the aims of Mayor de Blasio’s One New York plan—big steps are needed from the building community. Next Thursday, we’ll bring together waste management experts Christina Grace (Foodprint Group) and Brett Mons (City Department of Sanitation) for a discussion moderated by Clare Miflin (Kiss + Cathcart, Architects). We spoke with Mons and Grace to learn more about the issues surrounding waste management, and what the future holds, ahead of next week’s panel.

“This work is very new in NYC, with larger-scale commercial composting being driven by the Commercial Waste Ban, Local Law 146,” says Grace. According to Mons, the law, passed in 2013, identifies 11 business types (or industry “cohorts”) considered to be large food waste generators. Under the law, the Department of Sanitation commissioner is tasked with determining which and to what degree these cohorts will be required to separate their organic waste for the purpose of processing.

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