New York and its garbage.

NY is a cool place like the rest of US.

However, during my last visit there, one thing I did not found so cool was its ability to generate garbage.

New York’s 8 million residents  alone produces 36,200 tonnes of garbage per day with US producing 33% of world garbage due to its high level of consumption.

The Department of Sanitation, New York handles nearly 13,000 tons per day of waste generated by residents, public agencies and non-profit corporations. The rest is handled by the private  companies dealing in garbage management.

I was staying in a hotel in Times Square and during my early morning walks I came across the garbage kept out by the hotel next door. If this the amount of garbage one hotel generates, imagine the garbage generated by all hotels in Times Square. Only 17% of this garbage is recycled in New York.

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Day’s garbage kept out for collection.

The city’s annual bill for collecting and disposing residential trash is constantly going up. Cost of disposal is about $400 million today due to the higher cost of transporting and landfilling garbage being out of state.

NY has a long-term plan to reduce costs by recycling more, reducing waste and building a waterfront waste transfer system less dependent on trucks and able to use containers to ship garbage by barge.

However, I could not find any evidence to show that some work is being done in this direction.

From whatever I have seen in a week during my stay there, 80% of products are used only once and thrown out by Americans. They are served huge portion sized of meals and coffee, most of which ends up in garbage. The amount of food disposed as garbage could alone feed a small country in Africa on a daily.

I tried to find, why do New Yorkers create so much garbage?

Simply because in their busy lives they do not think about garbage or where it will end up. Most people think that those black plastic mounds of garbage bags on the street are magically transported to some mythical solid waste heaven.

Garbage in black bags all over the city waiting collection (picture taken from the internet)

In our Hotel alone, 1 person on an average uses 3 spoons, 1 knife, 1 fork, 2 plates, endless tissues and 2 coffee cups for 1 meal breakfast.

With no landfills in NY the picture I am afraid is very scary.

I think it is high time that US stops lecturing the rest of the world, how to conduct themselves and starts looking inwards.


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