September 28, 2020
By Kirstie Dabbs
New York City’s latest OneNYC 2050 strategy
outlines an ambitious sustainability agenda that includes goals to achieve zero waste to landfill by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2050. New Yorkers who track city- and state-wide environmental goals and regulations are likely aware of the importance of renewable energy and energy efficiency in achieving this climate strategy, but those actions alone won’t fulfill New York’s ambitions. A circular economy must also be adopted in order to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions and waste, while also conserving resources. Although the OneNYC strategy does make note of this shift, many New Yorkers remain unfamiliar with even the concept of the circular economy, let alone its principles, practices and potential impact.
June 2, 2017
By Nancy Anderson, Ph.D.
With a tip of the hat to Jane Austen, let me tweak her famous observation “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” Today, “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a liberal big city Mayor must be in want of good jobs for all.” I can’t vouch that Austen was comedy-free, but I do believe that Mayor de Blasio is earnest in his commitment to good jobs for all as part of his OneNYC mission.
Photo: Ed Reed Mayor de Blasio announces GJC
In the Mayor’s 2017 OneNYC Progress Report
, large print trumpets his credo laid out in the first OneNYC Report of 2015
: “I believe fundamentally you can’t have environmental sustainability without economic sustainability. Nor can you have economic sustainability without environmental sustainability.” This is a good thing to believe, so let’s see how this credo is getting expressed in concrete policy and actions.
May 24, 2017
by Sunitha Sarveswaran
Most people look at strawberry tops or carrot peels and throw them away, without realizing the myriad of other uses these scraps could provide. According to the EPA, the most preferred use for food and organics is human consumption. The least preferred uses are landfill and incineration. The GreenHomeNYC April Forum on Sustainable Food Systems featured a panel of five experts who spoke about the different strategies communities, businesses, and building owners can employ in order to limit or eliminate their organic waste footprint.
Communities can make a difference
According to the New York City Department of Sanitation
, more than a third of all waste generated by New York City residents is organic waste. Michael Hurwitz, the Director of the GreenMarket Program and GrowNYC
, spoke about how consumers can make a large impact on the organic waste footprint of New York City. Greenmarket was founded in 1976 with two main goals: to keep local farms viable and to ensure New Yorkers have unlimited access to fresh, local produce. Hurwitz discussed how one third of all food grown goes unharvested due to the cosmetic preferences of vendors. GreenMarket takes this unwanted produce and sells it at their local markets. Greenmarket’s passion is educating consumers on how to prepare food so that every part is used and scraps are not wasted. Greenmarket provides recipes, canning presentations and workshops to help consumers minimize their food waste and stretch their dollar.
May 30, 2015
by Lisa Bonanate
A world with zero waste – sending nothing to landfill or incineration – sounds like a Utopian dream. But in San Francisco, it’s a dream that’s becoming a political and social reality. If you live in San Francisco, you can recycle or compost anything, even hazardous materials and construction waste. How has the City by the Bay achieved this goal and what can New York learn from its example? In a recent screening of the documentary Racing to Zero: In Pursuit of Zero Waste
, New Yorkers got an eye-opening look at San Francisco’s ambitious recycling program, followed by a panel discussion that explored how the Big Apple stacks up, specifically in light of the mayor’s OneNYC
After it achieved the state-mandate of 50% landfill diversion by 2000, San Francisco extended its program by setting a landfill diversion goal of 75% by 2010 and zero waste by 2020. This will achieve three sustainability goals: conservation of resources, reduced environmental impact and creation of green jobs. San Francisco has dramatically reduced the amount of waste sent to landfills. Even so, over half of what goes into the city’s landfill bins can be recycled or composted. When all waste material is separated into the correct blue (recycle) or green (compost) bins, San Francisco’s diversion rate will increase from 80 percent to 90 percent.