New York City’s sprawling commercial waste system performs significantly worse on recycling and efficiency than previously believed. Under an inefficient and ad-hoc arrangement that developed over the past several decades, hundreds of private hauling companies collect waste from restaurants, stores, offices, and other businesses nightly and truck it to dozens of transfer stations and recycling facilities concentrated in a handful of low-income communities of color. This waste is then transferred to long-haul trucks and hauled to landfills as far away as South Carolina. Previously unpublished studies and new data reveal just how chaotic this system is and make clear that fundamental reform is needed if we are to follow through on the City’s recently adopted commitment to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 80% by 2050.

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Tweets from the Streets