New York City expands public space recycling

City officials gathered for the launch of the expanded program.

New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced that the City’s successful street corner public space recycling program is being expanded to 33 new locations throughout the five boroughs. The expansion comes at minimal cost to city taxpayers through the use of existing Department of Sanitation collection resources and partnerships with 18 Business Improvement Districts.

A total of 105 new blue and green recycling bins were positioned around the City so recyclable products would not be deposited in street corner litter baskets. The Public Space Recycling Pilot is part of the City’s landmark Solid Waste Management Plan (SWMP) adopted by the City Council in 2006. The SWMP provides an efficient and environmentally sound method for handling the City’s waste for the next 20 years.

“The key to maintaining the City’s high quality of life - even during tough times - is learning to do more with less,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Because of careful planning by the Sanitation Department, this expansion of public recycling will have virtually no impact on the City’s budget. We’re adding 33 new sites to the 10 existing public locations where New Yorkers can recycle newspapers, magazines, and bottles and cans. It’s a prime example of how we’re continuing to improve New York’s quality of life even as city agencies tighten their belts to deal with the current downturn in our economy.”

The public space recycling program was launched in April 2007 as part of the city’s comprehensive 20-year Solid Waste Management Plan. The first bins were placed in major commercial strips, in parks and at large transportation hubs, like the Staten Island Ferry terminals. As part of the program, large blue recycling bins collect metal, glass and plastic containers and green bins accept newspapers, and other paper products that previously had been deposited into the city’s 25,000 street corner litter baskets.

“Last year, the DSNY collected 1.7 million tons of recyclables – about 16 percent of our residential waste. With these additions to the Public Space Recycling program, we expect to increase public awareness of the fact that recycling is one way to make our city cleaner, greener and healthier,” said John Doherty, New York City commissioner.

The Solid Waste Management Plan, which was overwhelmingly adopted by the City Council in 2006 and later approved by the State Department of Environmental Conservation, establishes a cost-effective system for managing the city’s waste for the next 20 years.

Under the Solid Waste Management Plan, rail cars and barges from marine transfer stations will transport nearly all of the city’s residential waste. As a result, sanitation trucks will travel about 2.7 million fewer miles per year, and travel by tractor-trailer trucks will be reduced by 3 million miles per year.