12 July 2024
NY trash revolution: Lidded bins

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The NY Trash Revolution: Cleaning Up the Big Apple

New York City, known for its iconic yellow taxis, pizza slices, and bright lights on Broadway, also has a notorious reputation for its overflowing waste and the rats that feast on it. However, a recent initiative by local authorities aims to change this narrative through a “trash revolution” that targets the city’s sanitation issues.

The initiative, which began in March, mandates over 200,000 food-selling businesses to use hard-lidded bins to store the millions of tons of garbage they generate annually. By 2026, residential buildings will also be required to adopt these containers. Inspired by successful models in cities like Barcelona, Madrid, and Buenos Aires, New York’s pilot program is currently underway in Manhattan’s Harlem neighborhood.

Residents have already started noticing a positive change, with fewer rats seen on the streets and a decrease in fines for improperly disposed garbage bags. The shift to hard-lidded containers not only deters rodents but also discourages human scavengers from tearing open plastic bags in search of recyclable items to sell for cash.

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Published on: March 31, 2024 Description: New York City is iconic for its yellow taxis, pizza slices, bright lights on Broadway and its rats. Mountains of black garbage bags ...
New York launches 'trash revolution' targeting overflowing waste • FRANCE 24 English
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Challenges and Solutions in Managing NYC’s Waste

New York City, with its 8.5 million residents and millions of annual tourists, generates a staggering 20 million tons of trash daily. More than half of this waste comes from businesses, leading to overflowing black garbage bags that line the city’s sidewalks. The complex challenge of managing this massive volume of waste is exacerbated by the city’s dense population, particularly in Manhattan.

Steven Cohen, an environmental and public affairs professor at Columbia University, acknowledges the difficulties in finding space for large containers in a city where high-rise buildings dominate the landscape. The placement of these containers on sidewalks and streets raises concerns about pedestrian access and traffic flow, with some estimates suggesting that they could occupy a significant portion of sidewalk space.

To address these challenges, the city plans to introduce specially adapted trucks for lifting and removing the new containers, reducing the physical strain on sanitation workers who currently handle trash collection manually. City sanitation commissioner Jessica Tisch emphasizes the importance of finding solutions that prioritize both the well-being of sanitation employees and the cleanliness of New York City’s streets.

Turning Trash into Treasure: NYC’s Waste-to-Energy Initiatives

Since the closure of the world’s largest landfill in Staten Island in 2001, New York City has relied on waste-to-energy facilities and landfills in other states to manage its trash. Despite the negative perceptions associated with waste transfer stations, experts like Steven Cohen see potential in transforming waste into a valuable energy source.

Cohen advocates for a paradigm shift in waste management, supported by artificial intelligence, to increase recycling rates and harness the energy potential of discarded materials. Currently, less than 10 percent of all trash is recycled in the city, with organic waste recycling at a mere three percent. To address this issue, New York City plans to introduce compost containers for food waste, with mandatory implementation scheduled for the near future.

By converting food waste into compost or utilizing anaerobic digesters to produce methane or nitrogen fertilizer, the city aims to reduce its environmental footprint and create a more sustainable waste management system. While implementing these changes may require time for public adaptation, Cohen believes that New Yorkers will eventually embrace a more eco-friendly approach to waste disposal.

Looking Towards a Cleaner, Greener Future for NYC

As New York City embarks on its “trash revolution” to tackle overflowing waste and rat infestations, the city’s residents and businesses are adjusting to new waste management practices. By mandating the use of hard-lidded bins, implementing composting initiatives, and exploring waste-to-energy solutions, NYC is striving to create a cleaner, greener future for its urban environment.

While challenges persist in managing the city’s immense volume of trash and navigating logistical constraints, the collective effort towards sustainable waste management reflects a commitment to improving public health, sanitation, and environmental sustainability. As New Yorkers adapt to these changes, the vision of a cleaner, rat-free cityscape driven by innovative waste management solutions is gradually becoming a reality.

Links to additional Resources:

1. BBC News – New York ‘trash revolution’ targets overflowing waste, and the rats feasting on it 2. The New York Times – New York City’s Trash Problem Is Getting Worse. So Are the Rats. 3. NPR – New York City’s Trash Problem Is Getting Worse. So Are The Rats

Related Wikipedia Articles

Topics: Trash disposal, Waste management, New York City

Waste management
Waste management or waste disposal includes the processes and actions required to manage waste from its inception to its final disposal. This includes the collection, transport, treatment, and disposal of waste, together with monitoring and regulation of the waste management process and waste-related laws, technologies, and economic mechanisms. Waste can...
Read more: Waste management

Waste management
Waste management or waste disposal includes the processes and actions required to manage waste from its inception to its final disposal. This includes the collection, transport, treatment, and disposal of waste, together with monitoring and regulation of the waste management process and waste-related laws, technologies, and economic mechanisms. Waste can...
Read more: Waste management

New York City
New York, often called New York City or simply NYC, is the most populous city in the United States, located at the southern tip of New York State on one of the world's largest natural harbors. The city comprises five boroughs, each of which is coextensive with a respective county....
Read more: New York City

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