Wasted Opportunity: Confronting NYC’s Solid Waste Challenges

July 8, 2013

Did you know that New York City ships 10,500 tons of residential waste to out-of-state landfills every day?

That adds up to nearly 27 million miles a year — all on large, long-haul trucks that spew massive amounts of climate-warming emissions into our air.

New York City is lagging behind other major cities in the adoption of new technologies, even as our current system grows more and more expensive. Isn’t it time for the Big Apple to rethink its solid waste management strategy — and soon?

“Wasted Opportunity? Confronting NYC’s Solid Waste Challenges” was a provocative half-day discussion that included a full accounting of New York City’s existing solid waste challenges and charted out a course for a more sustainable future.

This policy forum took place December 6, 2012 at the New York City Bar Association.

“Wasted Opportunity?” explored the critical and timely issue of how New York City can best manage the nonrecyclable fraction of its municipal solid waste. Our speakers discussed the economic, environmental and public health impacts of the city’s current system of managing unrecyclable waste, with a new system utilizing a range of new conversion technologies that extract and create energy and other resources from waste.

Our speakers were:

PANEL 1:
Caswell Holloway; NYC Deputy Mayor for Operations
Eric Goldstein; Director, New York City Environment, Natural Resources Defense Council
Carol Kellermann; President, Citizens Budget Commission
Thomas Matte, MD; Assistant Commissioner, Bureau of Environmental Surveillance and Policy, NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene.
Maria Gotsch; President & CEO, New York City Investment Fund
Moderated by NYLCVEF President Marcia Bystryn

PANEL 2:
Kate Ascher; Principal, Happold Consulting
James J. Binder, P.E.; Principal, Alternative Resources, Inc.
Helena Durst; Vice President, The Durst Organization
Brendan Sexton; President, The Sexton Company
Jamie Stein; Coordinator, Environmental Systems Management Program, Pratt Institute
Moderated by Adam Lisberg, Editor, City & State

This forum was generously sponsored by:

Additional sponsors included the Energy & Environmental Law Committees of the New York City Bar Association and Columbia Law School’s Center for Climate Change Law.

Our media sponsor for this special program was City Hall News, part of the Manhattan Media publishing group.

Click here to read our background paper on this issue

Click here to Read our Recommendations for New York City

< Back to Policy Forums

Related Articles

The Town of East Hampton has a long record of sustainability leadership, particularly on the issue of open space. But there are many steps the town can take to continue to improve its environmental performance–and the town’s elected leaders will play a critical role in this effort. For this reason, the New York League of…

In September 2014, Mayor de Blasio announced an aggressive carbon reduction goal for New York City to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% below 2005 levels by 2050. In order to address some of the key topics and major challenges to reaching these goals, NYLCVEF hosted a 4-part forum series this summer to address the…

The New York League of Conservation Voters Education Fund is pleased to present this 2017 Green Guide as a resource for all candidates running for public office in New York City. This document, released at our Environmental Candidate School, is a one-stop-shop for candidates to learn about new opportunities and approaches to persistent sustainability problems….

Each year, NYLCV and the NYLCV Education Fund work closely with New York’s leading environmental, public health, conservation, energy, environmental justice, and transportation organizations to identify the state’s most pressing priorities on fighting climate change, conserving land and water, and protecting public health. The result of that effort is our 2017 New York State legislative…

In September 2014, Mayor de Blasio announced an aggressive carbon reduction goal for New York City to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% below 2005 levels by 2050. In order to address some of the key topics and major challenges to reaching these goals, NYLCVEF hosted a 4-part forum series this summer to address the…

In October 2016, NYLCVEF convened a public policy forum at the Buffalo History Museum on green infrastructure, the use of nature-based systems to improve drinking source water quality and combat combined sewer overflows (CSOs) in urban areas. This forum was part of a series of similar events around the state on the subject of green infrastructure and CSOs.

NYLCVEF educational publications seek to help New Yorkers understand local environmental challenges and how they can be solved.

NYLCVEF educational forums bring together elected officials, environmental leaders, and the general public for discussion on timely environmental policy issues and their solutions.

Last fall, we held a forum on Green Infrastructure in the Capital Region at Albany Law School. Today we’re excited to give you the first look at our just released recommendations that the Capital Region can follow to expand green infrastructure. Our key recommendations for executive offices at the municipal and county levels include: Implement…

Get Involved

THANK YOU TO OUR ECO-PARTNERS