Monday, March 11, 2013

An interview with NYC recycling 'czar' Ron Gonen

In May of 2012, Ron Gonen
joined New York City's Department of Sanitation
in the newly created position of deputy commissioner for recycling and sustainability.
The f
ounder and former CEO of RecycleBank was charged with doubling the city's
recycling rate (currently about 15%) by 2017.

Quite a challenge.
How are things going? Find out in this Q and A with Waste and Recycling News editor John Campanelli.

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We've all heard about New York City's plans to ban Styrofoam. But did you know that the city soon will be using a privately-constructed recycling facility that will handle all recyclables, including all types of plastics ("No more reading that stupid thing on the bottom of the container, you can't figure it out," the mayor says).

Watch the video below in which Mayor Michael Bloomberg (at 56:04) talks about the new recycling center being built by Sims** to handle all recycling in the city.The plant will be the largest of its kind in North America--and will be powered both by solar panels and a wind turbine ("the largest since the Dutch built windmills in New Amsterdam," Bloomberg quips).                          

New York also plans to test the feasibility of
collecting and composting household (and public school) food waste. Currently more than 1 million tons of food waste annually is sent to landfills at a cost to taxpayers of $80 per ton. A pilot curbside program launches this spring in Staten Island. If it works out, the mayor says the program will go citywide.

** (Full Disclosure: Sims is a client of our sister consulting firm, Brill Public Affairs).

What do you think about NYC's sustainability plans?  Let us know in the comment box below. If one is not visible, activate it by clicking on the tiny 'comments' line.

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