Tags: recycling

Waste Diversion in New York City

Freshkills Park Walking Tour

As Freshkills Park develops from the world’s largest landfill into a sustainable urban park, New York City is working towards sending zero waste to landfills by the year 2030. This 0x30 Initiative is under the April 2015 initiative known as One New York: The Plan for a Strong and Just City (OneNYC).

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“Seven Work Ballets” by Mierle Laderman Ukeles

Mierle Laderman Ukeles' Landing

The work of Mierle Laderman Ukeles, the artist-in-residence for the NYC Department of Sanitation for the past 30+ years, is featured in a new book edited by Kari Conte titled “Seven Work Ballets.” According to Sternberg Press, the book focuses on a series of seven grand-scale collaborative performances that took place between 1983 and 2012 in New York, Pittsburgh, Givors, Rotterdam, and Tokamachi.

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Students Take a Stand against Plastic Bags after Visiting Freshkills Park

James Madison HS

 

On February 9th, students at James Madison High School built a chain of plastic bags around the school building in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn. The project was meant to raise awareness about excessive use of the material and its harmful impact on the environment.

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Close to Foam

Styrofoam cups

At around 95% air, Expanded Polystyrene foam (EPS) is incredibly buoyant, which is why it was used by the U.S. Coast Guard to build a six-person life raft in 1942.

EPS, commonly known as Styrofoam, has since floated into everyday life, with people using billions of foam cups, bowls, plates, takeout containers, trays, and packing peanuts every year.

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Farther Afield: Gazing Globes at Madison Square Park

Madison Square Park

If you haven’t yet visited Paula Hayes’ Gazing Globes at Madison Square Park, I highly recommend a trip to 25th street around dusk before the exhibition closes on April 19th. Hayes’ first public art exhibition in NYC comes alive as the sun starts to set over the city.

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Farther Afield: Seattle Bans Food Waste

Seattle Compost Violation

Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) has recently added a $1 fine for having more than 10% of a household’s trash composed of food waste. Passed on January 1, 2015, this comes as the next step in Seattle’s attempt to remove compostable materials from ending up in landfills, following the city’s previous 2005 ban on recyclable materials under a similar $1 fine program and the encouragement of residents to compost via SPU-provided compost bins.

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Recycling Christmas Trees for Myriad Uses

Every January, many cities are stuck dealing with an influx of Christmas trees after they’ve been removed from cozy homes and cast into the city’s waste management system. While Christmas trees may often be left out for landfill dumping, some municipalities and environmentalists have come up with ways to recycle them, keeping trees out of the waste stream.

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Ethics of E-waste

A few weeks ago, my iPhone 4s slowly started to malfunction. When the battery started to die within hours of being unplugged, I thought, ‘easy fix… it needs a new battery.’ Then one day I tried to make a call but no one could hear me.

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Farther Afield: Singapore’s Farms, Towers and Open Water

With a population of nearly 5.4 million people on less than 300 square miles of land, Singapore is the third densest country in the world. Once a part of Malaysia, it became an independent nation in 1965, and by doing so, the new island city-state began to increasingly rely on importing food to feed its people.

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Farther Afield: Garbage, Big Business in the Big Apple

Garbage is big business in the Big Apple—nearly 2 billion dollars worth of the city’s budget goes to the Department of Sanitation (DOS); and of that: $300 million is spent just disposing of it elsewhere. Last year this amounted to a cost of $95 per ton, up 28% since 2004, far outpacing inflation.

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Farther Afield: Food Unwrapped

From boxed rice to a can of soup, our food comes in packaging that is designed to be disposed of; even produce at some stores is offered in pre-packaged, cling-filmed trays. While it is encouraged that we recycle as much of these disposable packaging materials as possible (including the plastic wrap!), the amount of waste produced by our grocery shopping experiences is staggering, contributing 32% to our overall household waste.

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SF Bans Bottled Water on City Property


The City of San Francisco recently announced that it would ban the sale of bottled water in containers less than 21 oz on city property. San Francisco will be the first major city in the US to enact such a ban, though Concord, Massachusetts and Grand Canyon National Park have already replaced bottled water with water bottle filling stations.

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Citywide Commercial Organic Diversion

In a bold piece of legislation, New York City will reduce its waste by one third by requiring that, by 2015, restaurants, grocery stores, and other commercial food generators send all of their organic waste, including food scraps, to either a compost facility or an anaerobic digester.

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Styrofoam Ban Marks New Path in Sustainable Waste Management

A bill was recently passed to ban Polystyrene Foam (also known as Styrofoam) in New York City’s food service, joining cities like Portland, Oregon; San Francisco; Seattle; and Amherst, Massachusetts. Most recycling programs, including New York City’s, do not accept Foam Plastics for recycling because the material necessitates separate processing and must be kept exceptionally clean.

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Food Waste Challenge Saves Leftovers from Landfill

It might be easy to imagine designating a bottle or a newspaper for recycling or reuse – but food? That is the purview of former Mayor Bloomberg’s Food Waste Challenge. Over 100 New York City restaurants have made a commitment to divert at least 50% of their food waste.

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New Recycling Facility Demonstrates Sustainability

The Sims Municipal Recycling Facility will open soon on the Brooklyn waterfront, providing countless environmental benefits. ...MORE

The Art of Recycling

The Freshkills team is always on the lookout for engaging initiatives that combine education, sustainability, and art – not to mention recycling. Recology, a waste management company based in San Francisco, supports a young artists program that combines all these topics in one exemplary project.

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Composting Toilets in New York City

Prospect Park is building a composting toilet and putting to use an obsolete building. The Pump House, an unused building tucked away in the center of the park, is not connected to the New York City sewer system so traditional restrooms are not possible but with park use on the rise more restroom facilities are needed, especially in this more remote area of the park.

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Making Art out of Recycled Materials

Ripley’s Believe it or Not Odditorium in Times Square is hosting a contest titled “Materials Matter Amazing Art Challenge” for New York City art students. The submissions for the contest are due in April and selected students will have their work exhibited at Ripley’s.

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Landfill Harmonic, a documentary on making music from trash

An upcoming documentary entitled Landfill Harmonic chronicles the work of Favio Chavez, who is using trash to inspire his local community in Cateura, Paraguay.  The documentary follows Chavez, landfill technician and director of the appropriately named Recycled Orchestra, as he constructs musical instruments made of trash sourced directly from the landfill.  

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