Despite a number of local issues in the New York area, it seems that some priority is being placed in long term sustainability. New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg has recently committed city funds to an effort to double the city’s recycling by 2017 – just five years from today. Itâ€™s a nice step forward for the city and comes in reaction to cost-cutting measures years ago that trimmed recycling efforts, but failed to trim the budget.
The current recycling plan has long been considered weak by standards of other cities throughout the country. NYCâ€™s plan is not as successful as a number of other large cities such as Portland and Boston, for example. Even smaller cities throughout the Northeast have green programs that are a notch above New York Cityâ€™s. For example, in Connecticut buying has increased for residents who may have extra recyclable material in their Bridgeport, Hartford or New Haven apartments and homes.
Indeed, New York is one of the few cities in the country with a recycling program that fails to recycle plastics – one of the biggest sources of recyclable trash. When New York curtailed its recycling efforts a few years back, it actually ended up costing the city’s garbage and sanitation department more money than it saved – the extra trash simply ended up shipped to costly landfills out of the city.
Estimates indicate that with the addition of two new NYC-centric recycling plants, the city’s budget might actually free up about $55 million a year. The recycling centers are also creating construction opportunity and jobs for city workers, which is important the current delicate economic climate. What could be better than saving money and creating jobs? Taking care of both with a green recycling program would do just that.
Mayor Bloomberg also cites the importance of improving the city’s identity through green programs. He said, “If weâ€™re going to be the most innovative city in the world, we also have to be the greenest â€“ because thatâ€™s how you attract the most talented individuals and most forward-looking companies.” This is a powerful concept in New York, a city that is considered politically left and a home for many vocal activists and actors, and one of the main hubs for business in the United States, but also makes sense from the fiscally minded viewpoint of the conservative right.
New York has always been a political leader of the American east, with heavy ties to Washington and an influence on cities from Chicago to Baltimore. It is hoped by many that the mayor’s ideas on green programs – the concept that they can both be effective and beneficial without being costly – will inspire a common-sense approach to these issues throughout the country.