Posts tagged ‘trash’

Shooting for the Stars

Recycling is probably the most obvious way to reduce the waste going to landfills and incinerators.  But as environmentalists and food activists know, we can further reduce waste in another, though less obvious, way: through food composting.

In New York – a city that collects roughly 11,000 tons of garbage a day – the impact of composting could be enormous.  The New York Department of Sanitation estimates that 26 percent of its waste stream consists of food scraps and other organic material that could be composted.  That’s 2,860 tons of “garbage” a day that could be prevented from going to landfills, or roughly 1 million tons annually. 

I’ve been trying to find out how much of the 1 million tons of organic material is composted citywide, but so far that number has been hard to come by. 

I did find out, though, how much we’re recycling.  Want to venture a guess? In 2007, New Yorkers recycled 16.5 percent of their trash, according to the Department of Sanitation.  That’s not particularly good, especially given the superstar performance of Hamburg, Germany, Europe’s trash recycling champion.  According to a New York Times article, Hamburg today recycles 800,000 tons of the 1.4 million tons of trash it generates, or 57 percent. Not bad.  Not bad at all.

I thank environmental stars like Hamburg.  They give those left in their wake something to shoot for.   

June 26, 2008 at 10:52 pm 4 comments


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