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PR- 173-10
April 22, 2010


New PlaNYC Approach to Solid Waste

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today commemorated the 40th anniversary of Earth Day at a public celebration in Times Square. As part of the celebration, the Mayor launched a public process to update PlaNYC and discussed the need to develop a comprehensive, sustainable approach to solid waste that builds on the City's solid waste management plan and recycling program by including a far-reaching strategy to encourage New Yorkers to generate less waste, reuse more of what they consume, and develop new ways to utilize any waste that is discarded. Thousands attended the Earth Day celebration, which was held in the newly created pedestrian plazas in Times Square on Broadway between 45th and 46th streets.

"We have made great strides to improve our environment, build our economy, and enhance quality of life for all New Yorkers, but more remains to be done," said Mayor Bloomberg. "Through PlaNYC, which was launched just three years ago, we are transforming New York into a greener, greater city - even as we prepare for a million more New Yorkers. In doing so, we continue to prove that being more sustainable isn't just the right thing to do, it's the smart thing."

Local Law 17 of 2008, enacted by the City Council with the Mayor's support, requires that PlaNYC be updated every four years. The first update is due on Earth Day 2011. The Mayor's Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability, created in 2006 and charged with developing and implanting PlaNYC, will lead the effort to update the plan.

"In 2006, we asked New Yorkers to engage in a citywide conversation on sustainability that helped generate PlaNYC," said Deputy Mayor for Operations Edward Skyler. "This year, we have the opportunity to continue the conversation and solicit ideas from the public, as we plot the future of New York City."

In addition to evaluating the existing goals and initiatives in the original plan, updating PlaNYC is an opportunity to consider addressing policy areas that are not currently included. The City's landmark Solid Waste Management Plan, which was overwhelmingly adopted by the City Council in 2006 and establishes a cost-effective, equitable and environmentally sound system for managing the City's waste for the next 20 years, was not included in PlaNYC.

The Mayor announced today that solid waste would be included in the update. PlaNYC will build upon the Department of Sanitation's recycling program, which is the largest and most ambitious in the nation, and the City's Solid Waste Management Plan, which is transforming how the City disposes of waste by removing thousands of heavily polluting trucks from city streets and shifting solid waste transportation to barge and rail. As part of the update for PlaNYC, the City will comprehensively review where New York's 25,000 daily tons of waste comes from and formulate innovative policies designed to focus first on reducing the amount of waste generated, which has the greatest environmental impact, and then on initiatives that utilize waste as a resource, rather than considering it solely a by-product.

"The City Council is proud to have partnered with the Administration on a number of PlaNYC initiatives over the past three years, including a groundbreaking package of green buildings laws designed to reduce the level of carbon emissions emitted by the city's largest buildings," said Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn. "And we will continue to lead by example. Just two weeks ago, my Council colleagues and I announced a series of bills to update our city's 20 year old recycling law. Our legislation will divert over 8,000 tons of plastic every year away from landfills and incinerators - equal to the amount of trash produced by nearly 10,000 people each year. These bills will be another great tool to reduce solid waste in our city. We look forward to working with the Administration on all of the next phases and updates of PlaNYC."

"On the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day, I'm proud to stand with such progressive environmental leaders as Mayor Bloomberg and Speaker Christine Quinn," said Councilman James F. Gennaro, chair of the Committee on Environmental Protection. "The progress in environmental sustainability our City has made since the introduction of PlaNYC in 2007 will be replicated throughout the world in the coming decades. New Yorkers should rejoice at the fact that they live in one of the most forward-thinking green cities in the world."

"One of the hallmarks of PlaNYC is that is takes a holistic look at urban challenges and attempts to break down traditional silos," said Rohit T. Aggarwala, Director of the Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability. "We must look beyond transportation and recycling to figure out how we get people to throw less stuff away; how we get people to start re-using things at home and at work, even before they consider recycling them; and how we work with producers to generate less waste."

"Over the last eight years we established a socially responsible and environmentally sound infrastructure for handling the solid waste generated daily in New York City," said Sanitation Commissioner John J. Doherty. "Working with the Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability, we will now apply our on-going efforts to creating greater efficiency and sustainable solid waste practices using that foundation. If we can encourage New Yorkers to reduce, reuse and recycle more commodities, we'll really have an impact on reducing the city's carbon footprint."


Stu Loeser / Jason Post   (212) 788-2958

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