Monday, March 22, 2010

New York City Garbage

At our particular co-op, special deliveries are strictly prohibited on the weekend. In fact, no unnecessary noise or fuss of any kind is permitted. Even if you use a hammer to put up a picture, somebody might complain. They're pretty strict about this. So why is it on Saturday morning, even before 8 AM, we must put up with the prolonged racket of garbage trucks grinding up our building's waste? There can be only one explanation for a building that is so insistent on weekend peace and quiet. The garbage can't wait. And the reason it can't is because there is so much of it.

Exactly how much garbage is there? Well, the residents of New York City generate about 40,000 tons of garbage everyday - that's 80,000,000 pounds of the stuff - every day of the week without exception. Which translates to 560,000,000 pounds every week, or about 29,120,000,000 pounds every year. That's a whole lot of garbage and that, of course, accounts for only New York City by itself, a city that does pretty well when it comes to recycling and conserving.

And where does all this refuse go? I don't know. I only know that back in 2001 the last city dump, Fresh Kills Landfill on Staten Island, was finally closed, which means that all New York garbage is now exported to locations entirely outside the City limits. I guess it goes to a variety of landfills away from the City that are part of the tri-state area. But here's the thing. Most of those landfills are just about at capacity as well. A strategy for getting rid of all this stuff is one of the big issues we face in the next decade. It isn't clear how it's going to be done, but it does need to top some city planner's priority list, or we could find ourselves drowning in all this garbage, even before we're drowning literally as a result of the rise in the sea level triggered by global warming.

1 comment:

  1. Yup, it now simply goes somewhere else since we filled up one of those holes... Its sad to think about how gradually as we're only trying to think of ways to get rid of it, are we producing so much, much, more.

    -Land Source Container Service, Inc.