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What the Statistics Can't and Don't Show

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information on different types of waste generators
small-scale waste prevention initiatives

Information on Different Types of Waste Generators 

Many people want to know how much refuse and recycling is set out by different types of waste generators. They may ask questions like, “how well does the Police Department recycle?” or “how many tons of recyclables went into public space recycling bins?”

Curbside and containerized Sanitation trucks collect materials along routes that may include a mix of waste generators. Collection routes are optimized for quick and efficient service. Trucks stop at residences, public space recycling bins, nonprofit institutions, city agencies, and some NYC public schools, that are in proximity to each other. The trucks cannot and do not weigh their contents at each of the many stops on the route; they are weighed only when the full truck dumps its load. For this reason, generator-specific information is not available in New York City. 

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Small-Scale Waste Prevention Initiatives

Throughout New York City, individuals, clubs, businesses, and nonprofit organizations are engaged in creative projects to reuse or compost materials otherwise destined for disposal. Some are minimizing waste with smart purchasing decisions about product packaging.

These activities, small scale and numerous, are important but are not reflected in the statistics on this website. The reason is simple: lack of consistent information. The Department of Sanitation is presently working with the reuse sector through the Center for Materials Reuse leaving NYCWasteLess to encourage more reuse enterprises to report diverted tonnage numbers to DSNY. These can then be reported in citywide statistics. Nevertheless, many of the informal reuse/recycling initiatives supported daily by New Yorkers will remain outside the realm of official statistics.

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