Does NYC actually recycle?

What days to take out the garbage in new york city

Until now, I was aware that plastic is very difficult to recycle, that only some types of packaging could be used and that the rest was simply stored separately from organic waste. This was reason enough for me to sort plastics (and cans) in my trash, and that is what is most cumbersome, since it is the most common material in packaging (trays, briks, wrappers, bottles, cans…) and the one that occupies the most volume.

This is not always the case with paper and glass, because their recycling does provide benefits, as they can be effectively reused to make cardboard, recycled paper or new glass containers. Cans and other metals, from which a lot of material is also recovered, are easily obtained from any sorting line thanks to the use of large magnets, so there is no need for prior sorting.

This is a suspicion I have always had, that so much collecting and separating, so much raising awareness and promoting recycling, and then the companies in charge undo all the work done in our kitchens in order to save a few euros, as if we did not pay enough fees for garbage collection!

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What does the United States do with the garbage?

Frail and hunched over, the man stops at each stone staircase, some decorated for Halloween. He parks his cart, lifts the dumpster lids and plunges his gloved hands into the plastic bags full of waste.

Laurentino has no boss. He takes his collection to one of the city’s recycling centers, where he is paid 5 cents a can. On an average day, he can earn $30 to $40, which is welcome to help pay the “$1,800” rent where he lives with his daughter who works at a laundromat.

“This has had a really positive impact (…) But we never imagined it would become an essential source of income for so many families,” explains Judith Enck, an environmental policy expert and founder of an anti-pollution movement, “Beyond plastics,” who worked for such a law and is currently working to raise the price to 10 cents.

On its website, the state Department of Environmental Protection also praises the “Bottle bill,” which in 2020 alone allowed for the recycling of “5.5 billion plastic, glass and aluminum containers” out of 8.6 billion sold nationwide.

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Garbage Collection Schedule 2021

Glass bottles, plastic bags and other waste that would end up filling landfills or floating in the sea have become, at the hands of some creators, a form of sustainable art that denounces the degradation of the planet and surprises with its originality. The possibilities go as far as the imagination can go.

Today’s society generates an enormous amount of waste. As a consequence, recycling has become an essential action to protect the environment. Within this field, two aspects have emerged: under-recycling and over-recycling. In the former, the destructive cycle is slowed down and the resulting objects lose quality during the process, while in the latter they acquire value thanks to the intervention of creativity.

Just like any of us, our waste also has the right to a second chance and from the hand of the aforementioned suprarecycling has emerged an artistic movement known as recycled art -upcycled art or upcycling art in English- that inspires numerous creators today throughout the world with a message critical of excessive consumption and environmental pollution. This type of art seeks to transform waste such as paper, cardboard, wood, glass, plastics, metals or rubber into works of art. The concept, therefore, goes beyond the conventional recycling of materials by creating objects that exceed the economic, cultural and social value of the original product.

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When the big garbage passes by my house

A straw with our iced coffee, a plastic bag to carry our food, the candy wrapper: taken individually, each seems harmless. These modern conveniences are so ubiquitous, and so quickly discarded, that they barely register in our minds. But single-use plastics take a heavy toll on the environment, one that we will pay for millennia to come. Our addiction to plastic has a devastating impact on our oceans, our wildlife and our health.

Recent reports claim that plastic bag bans have unintended environmental consequences, leading to increased use of paper and carryout bags, and could result in more pollution. What’s the real story?