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:

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

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

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