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New York City commercial waste companies don't recycle enough: Report

A worker walks past a pile of recyclable

A worker walks past a pile of recyclable waste at the new SIMS Metal Management center January 8, 2014 in Brooklyn Photo Credit: Getty/AFP/Don Emmert

A report released Monday found the city hauls more commercial waste than estimated.

Transform Don't Trash NYC, a coalition of green nonprofits, looked at the number of waste haulers in some of the city's busiest business districts and found that they generated about 5.5 million tons of waste per year, 2 million more than predicted. At the same time, the groups found that commercial waste companies have a recycling rate of 25% compared to the 40% rate published in Mayor Bloomberg's 2011 PlaNYC update.

"As a city, we can and must do much better when it comes to recycling commercial waste," said Matt Ryan, Executive director of ALIGN, one of the groups in the coalition.

TDT NYC surveyed 756 businesses in 14 different neighborhoods in all five boroughs during the summer of 2014 to acquire some of the data in the report. Other information came from Freedom of Information Law requests for reports such as the unpublished 2012 sanitation department study of the commercial waste system.

The coalition urged the de Blasio administration to reform the city's commercial waste industry and improve its recycling efforts.

A spokeswoman for the sanitation department said doing so is a priority.

"We look forward to working in partnership with the council and a wide range of stakeholders to identify and implement sustainable policies to improve recycling rates and reduce our waste's impact on the environment without placing a substantial new burden on small businesses," the Department of Sanitation said in a statement.


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