A few incentives to recycling

Sending waste to a landfill costs the city $90 per ton.

Recycling doesn’t just help the environment — it can potentially save the city millions.

While sending waste to a landfill costs the city $90 per ton, a number expected to increase to more than $100 in the next two years, recycling, on the other hand, can save or make money for the city.

For starters, decreasing the amount of waste disposed through recycling could save the city millions in tax dollars that could be put towards other city projects and maintenances.

“It can save the city tens of millions of dollars because every ton we divert from the landfill saves us money,” said Ron Gonen, the city’s deputy commissioner for recycling and sustainability.

The city can also make money off of recyclables. It receives $10 per ton of paper it sells, and more when the demand for recycled paper is higher.

Of course, recycling itself costs money, and the city pays Sims Metal Management Municipal Recycling, which runs sorting facilities in Sunset Park and Jersey City, $70 per ton to process all of the metal, glass and plastic recyclables collected by the Department of Sanitation. But starting this year, the city will start sharing in the revenue the company receives for selling processed items. Plus, it’s still $20 cheaper per ton to recycle than send materials to a landfill.

With some financial incentive, Gonen hopes to see recycling increase significantly in New York City.

“It’s good for the environment and it’s also good for [residents’] tax dollars,” he said.

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