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NYCHA and Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx Solid Waste Advisory Boards (SWAB) Convene Panel Discussion on the Future of Recycling in New York City

NYCHA launches Inner City Green Team Program at NYCHA Wagner Houses

NEW YORK – NYCHA officials from the Energy & Sustainability, Waste Management, and Pest Control departments today joined community leaders from the Manhattan, Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens Solid Waste Advisory Boards (SWAB) for a panel discussion on the future of waste recycling in New York City, as well as NYCHA’s 2021 Sustainability Agenda and the five-year plan for future waste management at the Authority. The event, which took place at NYCHA’s Robert F. Wagner Houses in Manhattan, also kicked off a new recycling and composting partnership between Inner City Green Team, Green City Force, and Compost Power.

Speakers included NYCHA Director of Energy & Sustainability Programs Ellen Zielinski; Vice President of NYCHA Waste Management & Pest Control Alfred Ferguson; Director of Waste Management Jose Oquendo; Fred Samuel Resident Association President Diana Blackwell; Community Board 7 Environmental Justice Working Group Member Polly Spain; Inner City Green Team Co-Founder John Johnson, and Compost Power founder Domingo Morales. The event was moderated by Manhattan SWAB NYCHA Recycling Committee Chair DeNeile Cooper.

“NYCHA is making significant investments in its recycling and waste management infrastructure to make sure our buildings and grounds can be free of visible garbage, litter, and pests,” said Vlada Kenniff, NYCHA Vice President of Energy & Sustainability. “We applaud the green initiatives at Wagner that will make recycling and composting convenient for NYCHA residents.”

“NYCHA has been working over the past two years to train staff in industry best practices around waste management, pest control, and various recycling and sustainability initiatives,” said Al Ferguson, NYCHA Vice President of Waste Management & Pest Control. “The ability to continue this work in concert with the Federal Monitor, and other stakeholders invested in this process, will allow us to strengthen that commitment.”

“The Manhattan SWAB NYCHA Recycling Committee is excited about the work that NYCHA’s new Department of Waste Management and Pest Control is doing to improve waste infrastructure and institutional processes across NYCHA campuses,” said DeNeile Cooper, Chair of the Manhattan SWAB NYCHA Recycling Committee. “As NYCHA finalizes its 2021 Sustainability Agenda, we look forward to continuing our support for community involvement in recycling and waste diversion.”

The event was organized by the Manhattan Solid Waste Advisory Board NYCHA Recycling Committee to celebrate the launch of a new recycling program at Wagner Houses in partnership with the Inner City Green Team, Green City Force, and Compost Power. The discussion also focused on topics such as the potential for zero waste design, resident activation around sustainability, and how the Inner City Green Team’s program model to educate and provide job opportunities for residents focused on recycling can be expanded.

The Inner City Green Team program aims to reduce the volume of landfill-bound waste through resident education and more convenient recycling access. The program also includes providing education on composting and hosting events like Stop ‘N’ Swaps, which will collect other recyclable items (like gently used clothing) for donation and recycling. The volume of NYCHA’s landfill-bound garbage could be cut nearly in half if more materials were recycled and recyclables were properly sorted. By advancing this program at Wagner Houses, NYCHA hopes to educate and engage residents around recycling and improve waste diversion rates.

This program builds on the Federal Monitor’s Pest & Waste Management Action Plan and NYCHA’s 2021 Sustainability Agenda. In May of this year, the Federal Monitor approved NYCHA’s City Capital Action Plan, unlocking over $563 million in funding to help the Authority fully upgrade and modernize its waste infrastructure. These and other funds are being used to install new interior and exterior trash compactors, bulk crushers, and cardboard balers to manage trash and recyclables more effectively and efficiently.

Last year, NYCHA restructured its operations by creating a Waste Management Department that reports directly to the Chief Operating Officer, and incorporated the Pest Control division within that unit to better coordinate an Authority-wide comprehensive strategy as well as targeted responses to pest and waste challenges.


About the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA)
(“NYCHA” or the “Authority”) provides affordable housing to 380,299 authorized residents in over 177,611 apartments within 335 housing developments. NYCHA serves 359,593 authorized residents in over 168,100 apartments within 285 housing developments through the conventional public housing program (Section 9) and 20,706 authorized residents in 9,511 units within 50 developments that have been converted to PACT/RAD. Through federal rent subsidies (Section 8 Leased Housing Program), NYCHA also assists approximately 77,663 families in locating and renting units. In addition, NYCHA facilitates access to social services through a variety of programs.

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