Tags: recycling

‘Treasure in the Trash’ – a Department of Sanitation work of art

For more than 20 years, Department of Sanitation New York City worker Nelson Molina has curated a collection…of trash. Call it a gallery, a collection, or a museum, Molina and other Sanitation workers have transformed an unused room in an Upper East Side sanitation facility, located on 99th Street between First and Second Avenues, into a showplace for found art in collected trash.

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Company turns plant waste into free mulch for urban farming

A San Francisco company is spurring local urban agriculture by turning organic waste into mulch, and giving it away for free. Bayview Greenwaste collects plant waste for a fee, grinds it into mulch, then gives it away to any organization that wants it, including nonprofits, municipalities, private citizens, schools, and power plants.

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The West Coast leads the way with innovative Recycling Programs

West Coast cities such as San Francisco, Portland and Seattle have recently become leaders in the effort to reduce the size of landfills by enacting a myriad of cutting-edge recycling programs. The New York Times reports that in Portland, a new biweekly garbage pickup schedule will cut back on the waste sent to landfills by 44 percent.

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Goats graze at Fort Wadsworth and Governors Island

Goats are spending the summer on Governors Island in New York Harbor and Fort Wadsworth on Staten Island as a sustainable resource for park maintenance – eating weeds, trimming trees and grass. Not only do goats graze on invasive plant species, including poison ivy, they can ‘recycle’ some food scraps from visitors as part of a composting program, which is happening on Governors Island for this first time this summer.

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NYC ‘Recycling Champions Program’ for public schools – apply by June 15!

[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/18542856 w=500&h=281]

GrowNYC, in partnership with the NYC Department of Sanitation and NYC Department of Education, is currently accepting applications New York City public schools for their 2012-2013 Recycling Champions Program. The program “aims to empower schools to comply with, and exceed, NYC’s recycling laws, and in the process students create school wide projects and campaigns, and learn environmental leadership skills.”

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How building subways helps build our parks

As work on Manhattan’s Second Avenue subway line progresses, those viewing the massively scaled operation may wonder, “where does all the excavated dirt and rock go?” In the past, the ‘muck’ from expanding subway lines and other construction projects has contributed to the building of Ellis Island, Governors Island and Battery Park City, among other city landmarks – including the expansion of the Manhattan shoreline.

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Methane generates revenue at Freshkills Park

Methane gas produced from decomposing waste at Fresh Kills landfill is generating revenue for the City of New York of up to $12 million each year as the site is developed into a 2,200-acre park.

With the help of advanced landfill gas collection infrastructure throughout the landfill, the New York City Department of Sanitation is actively harvesting methane, through rigorous state and federal public health and safety guidelines, from the decomposing waste buried at Fresh Kills landfill.

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Garden mulch from beer bottles

The recent closure of a town landfill in Tennessee has spurred an innovation in the afterlife of one common discard: beer bottles. Faced with the prospect of high tipping fees associated with hauling its waste elsewhere, the Cumberland County Recycling Center purchased a glass grinder which pulverizes heavy bottles and jars – a heavy component of the town’s waste – into fine gravel, dust, and mulch-like products.

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Mexico City’s Trash for Greenpoints program

Continuing with the increasingly popular efforts to become a more sustainable metropolis, Mexico City has initiated a new barter-style market in which residents can trade recyclable materials for locally grown foodstuffs.

The opening of the new government sponsored (website in Spanish) market follows similar events lauded by environmentalists such as the closure of the Bordo Peniente Landfill, and green vertical gardens which we’ve previously blogged about.

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NYC loves textile recycling

In June of last year we made note of a promising new partnership between the New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY) and Housing Works focused on collecting, reusing and recycling unwanted clothing, linens, shoes and clean rags. Less than a year after introducing the program, supporters have pronounced it a grand success.

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Recycling Reconsidered

Our friends at Discard Studies highly recommend this Thursday’s book launch for Samantha MacBride, author of the recently released Recycling Reconsidered: the Present Failure and Future Promise of Environmental Action (MIT 2012). The listing notes that Samantha’s book “offers a critical yet supportive appraisal of the historical development of recycling in the United States, looking at both materials flows and social significance of this meaningful ecological activity”.

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Small landfill, big ideas

Focus Forward, a new series of short films about forward-thinking innovators, brings us The Landfill, directed by Jessica Edwards and Gary Hustwit.

The film is a brief profile of the small but highly efficient Delaware County Landfill in Upstate New York, which is using a system of composting, recycling, and landfill gas (LFG) capture not unlike the one used at Fresh Kills two decades ago.

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This year’s Sneak Peak features 1500% more art

At last year’s Sneak Peak we were lucky enough to get Mierle Laderman Ukeles‘ iconic mirrored garbage truck, ‘The Social Mirror’ to feature prominently as a preview of public art to come in the future park.  This year, we’re able to deliver a little bit more of that future with a total of 15 art installations throughout the event site, curated with the assistance of the Council on the Arts and Humanities for Staten Island (COAHSI). 

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At Sneak Peak: eat, shop and then play some more

Once you work up an appetite kayaking, biking and touring the site at Sneak Peak, make sure to stop by the food vendors for an assortment of tasty grub.  We will have the Vendy Award-winning King of Falafel and Shawarma, Carmelo’s Brick Oven Pizza, and Killmeyer’s Old Bavaria Inn serving up savory fare as well as The Treats Truck, Staten Island Iceman, and Nonie Chu’s Pastries with sweet treats.

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Recycle your e-waste at Sneak Peak

There will be plenty of activities and fun and gorgeous scenery at Sneak Peak this Sunday, but it’s important to remember that the Freshkills Park site is a landfill because of us–all of us, and our constant production of garbage.  And it’s important to take this site as an example to act more responsibly. 

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How my junk mail turned into this NYC pizza box

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qXABlDk4cYU&w=507&h=370]

A clip from 2008 History Channel program “The Works” features Staten Island’s Pratt Industries, where more than half of New York City’s paper is recycled.  This is a terrific clip that explains the infrastructure required for paper collection and processing as well as spelling out the steps of paper recycling. 

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New NYC initiative targets textile recycling

re-fashioNYC  is a new, free program sponsored by the Department of Sanitation and Housing Works and focused on collecting, reusing and recylcing unwanted clothing, linens, shoes and clean rags.   Program goals include:

  • reducing the 200,000 tons of textile and apparel waste each year;
  • contributing to PlaNYC 2030‘s goal of diverting 75% of solid waste from landfills;
  • boosting the small fraction of textile recycling by American consumers.
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Robot reclaims recyclables from refuse

Finnish company ZenRobotics has developed a device which can autonomously detect and remove recyclable materials from trash, diverting waste from landfills. The currently-unnamed technology consists of a series of sensors which analyze the physical and material properties of garbage on a conveyor belt. 

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New York’s new law tackles e-waste

The New York State Electronic Equipment Recycling and Reuse Act went into effect earlier this month, enabling easier recycling of old computers, cell phones and other electronics.  The act requires electronics manufacturers to accept old equipment from customers purchasing new electronics, regardless of the brand or model of the old equipment. 

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Japanese inventor turns plastics into fuel

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qGGabrorRS8&w=507&h=370]

Japanese inventor Akinori Ito has devised a way to revert post-consumer plastics, including the ubiquitous plastic bag, into petroleum-based fuel.  By heating up material in a small machine, capturing and cooling the vapors, and collecting the resulting liquid, Ito is able to turn two pounds of plastic into about a quart of oil, using a single kilowatt of power. 

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