December 19, 2016


By David Giambusso

12/19/2016 10:43 AM EDT

New York City’s recycling rates remain too low, and the sanitation department and the private waste industry could create new jobs by more aggressively recycling within the city, according to a report released today by the advocacy group, Transform Don’t Trash NYC.

The city’s manufacturing sector has stabilized and grown slightly and still provides better paying jobs than the retail and hospitality sectors, the report finds. The group, which is advocating for a host of new waste collection policies, says the city and the waste industry are missing opportunities to create more jobs in the recycling industry to coincide with the boost in manufacturing.

“Most manufacturing requires import of raw materials into the city, but New York City’s giant waste stream is a massive, overlooked, and inherently local source of useful raw materials for recycling or re-manufacturing,” the 12-page report states. “However, we continue to truck the great majority of our waste to landfills and incinerators – usually in other states – which not only harms our environment, but creates comparatively few jobs within our city and region.”

If the city were to increase its recycling diversion rate, both in residential and commercial waste, from its current 21 percent (for residential and commercial) to 70 percent, it could create 3,300 new jobs, according to the report.

The report encourages the city to build more recycling and organics facilities in or near the five boroughs to expand its recycling capabilities.

Transform Don’t Trash is a coalition of labor and environmental advocates that is at the center of some of the city’s biggest fights on waste management. In the report, the group pushes for a zoned franchise system for private waste collection as a means of boosting recycling in the private waste sector. The group is also backing a bill that would cap limits on how much waste is processed in overburdened areas.

Industry groups such as New Yorkers for Responsible Waste Management and the union Laborers Local 108 argue the franchise system and the waste transfer bill would eliminate jobs.

Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia said the city is already pursuing expansion of its recycling capabilities and will continue to do so.

“The Department of Sanitation agrees that increasing recycling rates can lead to local green jobs right here in New York City,” Garcia said in a statement. “We have implemented programs and policies to increase recycling rates, and we will continue to support investments in new recycling and sustainable waste management infrastructure as we work toward our zero waste goals.”

Read the full report here:

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