By Daniel Beekman & Stephen Rex Brown
October 2, 2013
A report by the Alliance for a Greater New York also found that the city's 2,000-plus garbage collectors often have routes that crisscross each other. The report suggests reducing the number of trash-collecting companies and improving environmental standards.
More than 90% of the trash from city restaurants, office buildings and businesses could be recycled or composted — but the current rate is only 40%, according to a new report.
That means of the 3.2 million tons of commercial waste generated each year, 2 million tons are buried in landfills or burned in incinerators.
The Alliance for a Greater New York, which wrote the report released Wednesday, blames a dysfunctional commercial waste industry that reeks of inefficiency.
“It’s the Wild West,” said Matt Ryan, executive director of the alliance.
Matt Ryan, executive director of the alliance, says the next mayor should set a target recycling rate for commercial properties.
Matt Ryan, executive director of the alliance, says the next mayor should set a target recycling rate for commercial properties. Here, trash fills a can beyond capacity on Southern Ave. in the Bronx.
“There is intense competition among commercial carters ... and the first thing they sacrifice is wages and safety standards.”
More than 2,000 carters — or garbage collectors — often have routes that crisscross over one another before hauling trash out of the city, the report says.
The solution, the report says, is for the city to adopt a franchise system like Los Angeles and Seattle that would involve competitive bidding, a reduced number of companies and higher environmental and labor standards.
But Ron Bergamini, the CEO of waste management company Action Environmental Services, said that imitating other cities wouldn’t resolve New York’s recycling woes — particularly when it comes to food waste.
“While composting is a noble idea, which we believe in, there is no real infrastructure in our area to handle a big increase in composting,” said Bergamini. “You simply have to travel too far.”
Sara Jenkins, owner of Porchetta and Porsena restaurants in the East Village, says many restaurateurs would like to compost.
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