As one of the most populated cities in both the East and West Coast, it is a huge wonder how New York City is able to keep its waste materials at bay. In the previous year, the city has reportedly produced more than 14 million tons of trash on average, and that estimate alarmingly outnumbers other cities in the entire world, not just within the U.S.
There have been endless and continuous attempts to regulate waste in NYC. In the late 1670s, dumping the waste into the ocean was the city’s way of managing the rubbish. Years later, in the 1900s, the harder types of garbage were used to create artificial land. Although that citywide action helped to keep things under control, it was only for the time being. The volume of waste continued to grow as much as the city did.
Categories of Waste
The densely populated concrete jungle produces many different kinds of waste products, and these are mainly categorized into three. These are: food and/or garden waste; recyclable dry waste, and the non-recyclable waste.
As one of the largest commercialized areas in the country, NYC has a significant amount of textile waste, which includes not only discarded bits of fabrics, cloths, and the like, but also worn out products like carpets. It is assuring to know that organizations like Grow NYC greatly help in recycling and extending the life of textile products.
Leftovers, discarded food products, construction debris, and electronic waste, are just some of the other things that NYC has an abundance of. The most recent reports state that the city has 1,668 garbage collection trucks in the city, which function separately from the 248 private waste hauling companies.
A Continuing Hope
Although the statistics provided here can sound rather overwhelming, there is hope—and a continuing one at that—for NYC.
There are extensive, conscious, and voluntary efforts in waste management. In 2016 alone, almost 60 organizations in New York have teamed up for the No Waste Promise Campaign, which encourages growers, food retailers and the like to be responsible handling unsold food. This in turn helps customers know which environmentally concerned companies they should support.
More and more organizations are handling textiles well, too. Besides the existence of paid services of textile cleaners like nycsteamcleaning.com, there are also some creative recyclers, like the Reroll project by Zero Waste Daniel, which sell rather fashionable garments made from recycled textiles.
For electronic waste, many companies like Recycling New York offer recycling, liquidation, and even data destruction, for the privacy savvy people. They provide a safe way of disposing of these otherwise indestructible waste products.
The buildings, the industries, the people, and the way of life is what makes New York City as it is. And it is also in their combined efforts that they make it manageable.