Observations of and Recommendations for
Waste Prevention in New York City
Presented to the City Council Sanitation Committee, Feb 7, 2002
New York City Waste Prevention Coalition
The New York City Council should adopt a Zero Waste Resolution - (a policy statement that addresses the large issues involved in, "Moving toward Zero Waste" as a goal)
The New York City Council should adopt the Waste Prevention Coalition’s Five Year Plan. It is important in fact to go even beyond the five years and plan for the next 10 years in the Solid Waste Management Plan (SWMP), this would provide a legitimate and real roadmap for "moving toward zero waste", as our fiscal year budget for waste export exceeds $400 million dollars, we as a city need to reconsider how we could better spend this money to provide jobs and commodities locally rather than lining the pockets of the waste industry- an industry which is highly mechanized and offer few job opportunities especially those beyond entry level. Here’s where you will find the savings.
There are positive aspects of work in the Department of Sanitation despite its shortfalls -some of them include the Education program in schools, Waste Prevention Website, etc. We believe DOS is capable of solving our problems in terms of waste and that the Mayor is amenable to new solutions involving community-based planning efforts. Now is the time, unlike any other moment, NYC must address these concerns in the context of our impacts upon the rest of the state, nation and world.
Passage of Intro 482, reintroduction and passage of Intro 509, expansive consideration of opportunities for DCAS to track and reduce waste in over purchasing including the 2 environmental purchasing officers that were promised in the 2000 SWMP modification.
The planning process for the SWMP- should not only consider whether the City is following the plan as it was set out in its most recent complete update (10 year cycle) but should also begin to envision an additional 2 years, every time it is updated (every 2 years as delineated in the NYS Solid Waste Management Act) – this would result in a 10 year "rolling plan" that is always considering 10 years down the line. The local SWMP that needs to be enforceable by local law and hold accountable parties responsible for carrying it out.
Improve WPC involvement in SWMP process – This may be done in practice by using community-based planning techniques which empower stakeholders to play a part in the process, this should include both those organizations created by the City Charter (SWABs and CRAB) as well as coalition of advocates such as the NYC Waste Prevention Coalition and the Organization of Waterfront Neighborhoods. We haven't had input into the process in a number of years, years in which the budget has skyrocketed as predicted by community advocates because of failures to address concerns raised by advocates.
You must understand as the New York City Council, you are charged with approving the SWMP in order for it to be passed on to the State of New York for review, you also have the power to reject the SWMP as it is presented by the Department of Sanitation. We urge you to utilize the Borough Plans, Task Force Reports and alternative plans submitted by the public to counsel you on this topic. We recognize the major accomplishments of our previous City Council in providing for Community-Based Waste Prevention/Recycling Coordinators, but currently those contracts are being frustrated by our new Commissioner of Sanitation, despite the full restoration of funds in the current fiscal year that was voted for in the previous City Council term.
Pay As You Throw (PAYT) must be considered for a pilot in NYC as it has been encouraged by the EPA in their literature and with its very own website.
The economics of Waste Prevention may be among the most useful tools available to the City government today as we face increasing numbers of belt-tightening decisions.
Tim Logan - Chair of NYC Waste Prevention Coalition, also representing NYC Environmental Justice Alliance.
Jen Roth- representing herself and the Coalition, from Manhattan in Christine Quinn's district.
Frieda Bradlow- a charter member of the MCSWAB representing first Councilwoman Miriam Friedlander and since 1994, Community Board 2. For 10 years have been vice-chair of waste prevention. Member of the CRAB. Charter member of WP Coalition and steering committee member.
Sandra Robishaw- resident of Sunnyside Queens, President of ARROW Astoria Residents Reclaiming our World. Helped to spearhead and run a volunteer neighborhood recycling site in 1991, a site that operated for 4 years and
successfully diverted tons of recyclables from the city's waste stream until the advent of curbside pickup in 1994. Led volunteers to reclaim a city owned junkyard and convert it into a NYCity Park and Community Center in an
underserved neighborhood in Western Queens. Has been active in Waste Prevention Issues and has been a member of Waste Prevention Coalition since 2000.
Maggie Clarke- Scientist in residence at Lehman College, Vice Chair of the NYC WPCoalition, the CRAB, and the Manhattan SWAB, and Chair of its waste prevention committee since 1991. Co-author of Intro 509 and Intro 482 on
city agency environmental procurement. Wrote doctoral dissertation on consumer waste prevention, has published numerous journal and conference papers on waste prevention, recycling, and integrated waste management, and
testified numerous times on solid waste issues before the City Council.