Please Explain: Waste Management

Friday, August 29, 2008

New York City generates about fifty thousand tons of garbage every day. Find out what's in New York City’s trash, how it gets taken out of the city, and where it's dumped! Benjamin Miller is a Senior Fellow at the CUNY Institute for Urban Systems and author of Fat of the Land: The Garbage of New York – The Last Two Hundred Years. Bob Gardener is Vice Director of the Landfill Management Division of the Solid Waste Association of North America and Senior Vice President with SCS Engineers based in Virginia.


Bob Gardener and Benjamin Miller

Comments [17]

Adam Cimino from NYC

Barbara, I think it was Urban Renewal Corp:

Sep. 02 2008 10:45 AM
Dennis Brenner from NEw Jersey

I cannot belive that 50,000 tons are generated every day. If you take 8.5 million people and they generate 5 pounds of trash a day you get 21,500 tons a day.

If there were 50,000 tons you would need 2,000 trucks a day to move it all out, 7 days a week.

Construction waste is all used as filler for roads and other construction re use.

Aug. 30 2008 11:05 AM
hjs from 11211

Compact Florescent bulbs must be disposed of at the proper location, not put in the trash

Aug. 29 2008 02:48 PM
Barbara Furst from bloomfield nj

Approximately 1:50pm today a caller said she was touting a computer donation program in Newark, NJ. I thought she said the name was "urban renewal group" but my searches don't match the description. Does anyone know the name?

Aug. 29 2008 02:12 PM
Eric Gunther from Jersey City

I wanted to point out the recycling program run by the Evelyn Hill, the consessionaire for the Statue of Liberty. They collect ALL garbage produced on Liberty Island and have a garbage room where it is separated and over 75% is recycled. Is it feasible to have a municipal waste separation program?

Aug. 29 2008 02:00 PM
mary from Brooklyn

Two questions:

Compact Florescent bulbs are becoming very popular but do they pose long-term problems in the landfills?

Televisions are going digital and people will soon be discarding old TVs in record numbers: Are landfills involved in projecting changes in types of garbage, and 2) do TVs pose special hazards?

Aug. 29 2008 01:55 PM
Judy from Long Island, NY

About those curlicue light bulbs that are supposed to be so "green", except that they contain MERCURY -- they say, coyly, "please dispose of properly." But they don't say what that means! How SHOULD we dispose of them? As far as I know, there is no "mercury" bin in our recyling system.

Aug. 29 2008 01:54 PM
Jon Young from Staten Island

Why is it that only #1 & #2 plastics are accepted for NYC recycling and not the other numbers?

Aug. 29 2008 01:53 PM
katya from brooklyn

I have spent some time in New York as a waitress and found that most (all?) restaurants don't recycle. Are commercial garbage./ recycling ventures held to a standard are are they not well regulated?

Aug. 29 2008 01:51 PM
Eric Gunther from Jersey City

I understand that the gases from organic matter not composted comprise heat trapping properties 10x that of airborne carbon. Is there any discussion on a program separating and collecting organic matter for composting on a municipal level?

Aug. 29 2008 01:50 PM

Some cities have "single stream" recycling.
What is it?

Aug. 29 2008 01:46 PM
Betty Ann from UES

"What do landfills smell like? Is the stench really bad?"

It is absolutely dreadful. If you have ever been away from NYC and come back in the summer that gross smell the city has is a taste.

It is a rich textured smell and it really drives down the property value. It's a methane smell most of the time and certain times of the day are really bad. You can't hang clothes out.

Aug. 29 2008 01:35 PM
Betty Ann from UES

Could you ask your guest about recyclables that are collected but not properly sorted. Do these go to the landfill?

Aug. 29 2008 01:34 PM
Laura from Brooklyn

How much would New York City net economically from the sale of recycled materials on the commodity market if residential and commercial tenants recycled all of their waste streams that are currently recyclable in NYC? And how much does the city currently net, given the city's actual recycling rates? Are commercial or residential tenants more successful at recycling a larger portion of their recyclable waste streams?

Aug. 29 2008 12:20 PM
L from nyc

are the NYC sanitation trucks ever going to be switching to biodiesel, using waste oil from restaurants? the fuel most of them use now smells ridiculously awful, and probably being diesel, costs alot. plus, the waste oil wouldn't be going into a landfill.
also, can you give a small cost benefit analysis of how much money the city might actually save doing recycling instead of people just throwing their trash away. i was told by someone at the lower east side recycling center that 20% of my coop taxes go to sanitation costs alone, so the way i see it, i'm not only paying rent for garbage in a landfill, but higher taxes if i don't recycle.

Aug. 29 2008 10:56 AM
Sarah from Brooklyn

What do landfills smell like? Is the stench really bad?

Aug. 29 2008 10:33 AM

When I am over in New Jersey, I often see regular NYC Sanitation department garbage trucks - the kind that pick up trash in the city - on the Turnpike. Where are they going?

Aug. 29 2008 10:13 AM

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