While New York City was preparing for a rise in the already staggering amount of waste produced daily, a report released Thursday showed an unexpected decline. For Mayor de Blasio’s Zero Waste by 2030 initiative, it looks like good news.
A report from the city’s Independent Budget Office shows the Department of Sanitation handles literally tons of garbage per day; 12,000 to be exact. And there’s more: that’s only half of the city’s total. The DSNY is only responsible for institutional and residential waste, not commercial, which is taken care of by private companies, or “carters” as they’re called.
However, the numbers are better than expected. Beginning in 2006, the city’s 20-year Solid Waste Management Plan anticipated garbage levels would climb, contrary to the amount reported now by the IBO.
For that, the DSNY says they’re glad.
“The Department of Sanitation is pleased with the Independent Budget Office’s recognition that the city’s comprehensive Solid Waste Management Plan, designed in 2006, has helped move New York City in a much more sustainable direction,” it said in a statement on Thursday. “In its balanced assessment, the IBO acknowledges that the SWMP has clearly made the city more equitable, with fewer neighborhoods bearing the overwhelming burden of waste transfer stations.”
So, what will it take to get to “zero waste” in less than 13 years? The IBO says major change might be the answer. “If the city were to achieve such a dramatic reduction in the amount of refuse it exports by 2030, then much of the infrastructure built to facilitate the Solid Waste Management Plan could need to be retooled for recycling and organics export — or risk becoming obsolete,” the report stated.
While the report shows the city has some catching up to do, the DSNY says no one can predict the future, stating, “who then knew there’d be an I-Phone that would significantly reduce the amount of newspaper that had been projected to be in our waste and recycling stream.”