It's the Environment, Stupid.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Recycling Hits the Streets in NYC

Last April on a visit to my hometown of Seattle, I blogged about blue recycling bins next to regular garbage cans on downtown street corners. I remarked, "Wouldn't it be great if this option were available on all downtown sidewalks in all downtown areas?"

Well, NYC is giving it a shot with a new pilot project in all five boroughs. The Spring 2007 Public Space Recycling Pilot will run from April through June featuring green and blue bins in select areas. The green is for newspapers and magazines. The blue is for bottles and cans. A public awareness campaign promoting proper usage of the bins will surround the targeted areas on phone kiosks and bus stops.

If all goes well we could see green and blue bins city wide - however, given the behavior of New Yorkers, I'm guessing a lot of trash is going to get thrown into the recycling bins. I think a lot of out of towners and transplants from eco-friendly cities will recognize what goes where, but unless there's a place for garbage right next to the recycing bins, it may not work as expected.Hopefully that won't deter officials from thinking about extending the pilot or implementing the plan on a wider scale.


  • I think it will work well, honestly. Most people are recycling at home & this will transition well into everyday activity. you may find that the bins are basically empty anyway, as the people who typically pick through the rubbish bins to get at the recyclables will have a sorting system in place for them to make their daily money collections easier. I think it stands to reason that this will be a genuinely successful program all around.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:42  

  • this however, deeply upsets me. I just went to the website & found out that in order to get people to use the bins, we are literally generating waste for them to dispose of? not a very green initiative........
    read on-
    "How will public space recycling be promoted?
    From April through June 2007, bus stops and phone kiosks in the immediate area of nearly all the pilot locations will promote public space recycling through area-specific advertising.

    To help publicize public space recycling in the Staten Island Ferry Terminals, the Department of Sanitation worked with the NYC Department of Transportation and to place promotional posters in the Ferry Terminals and on the Staten Island Ferry.

    Other ways to promote public space recycling at the Ferry Terminals include the deployment of DSNY's blue and green recycling bin characters, as well as the distribution of newspapers and water bottles during the first week of April. DSNY arranged with Metro to give out newspapers during the morning rush hour at the St. George Terminal; during the evening rush hour at the Whitehall Terminal, DSNY staff will be handing out free bottles of water with a custom "public space recycling pilot" label. The goal is to encourage ferry users to recycle these items in the appropriate public space recycling containers"

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:46  

  • This is wonderful news - thanks for sharing! Good point made by the person who commented that the people who go through the bins and scrounge recyclables for money will probably act as unofficial pickup people. Which is good in many ways, good for those poor people and would get the recyclables to where they need to go!

    As for the second comment, sometimes it's necessary to prime the pump so people will know about something and use it, in my opinion. Once the bins are in regular use, such promotions won't be necessary. Let's not throw out the baby with the bathwater, just because bathing the baby in it made the bathwater technically polluted. Eh?

    Janis Mara

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 17:10  

  • This sounds hopeful...

    By Blogger The Worsted Witch, at 19:53  

  • Is it really a good idea to promote more green house gases? Because that's what the green movement essentially does. Recycling plants are no different than factories with smoke stacks. Perhaps the notion of needing landfill space is prominent within New York City, but look outside of the city. It would take at least 100 thousand years before a shortage of landfill space is even a realistic concern. We're looking at a possible doom in just 50 years due to global warming.
    Also, the raw goods used to create the items we recycle are no where near scarcity either.
    I read somewhere that New York City saved over a billion dollars by reducing recycling for one year.
    If we really want to reduce waste, then it is up to manufacturers, distributors, and customers to do what is logical, and not what is simply convenient.

    By Blogger Evan, at 10:22  

  • I live in NYC. Even though, residents separate recyclables into clear blue plastic bags, I just watched the garbage men outside my window throw all of the bags on the sidewalk into the same compactor. So much for the illusion. I will post a video of this on YouTube when I can catch it on camera.

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