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Vondechii's Vault
  • Wandeth Van Grover, MPH

Where Does New York's Solid Waste Go?

After the garbage leaves New York City homes and offices, the Department of Sanitation (DSNY) is the first in the garbage collection sequence and is a major enterprise of the municipal government. (1) DSNY collects over 10,500 tons of garbage and 1,760 tons of recyclables per day. (1) DSNY uses many different waste processing facilities for recyclable waste.

“The Pratt Industries paper mill in Staten Island recycles paper products; while others, like the Sims Metal Management processing plant in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, specialize in recycling metal products. "(1)

In the past, garbage that could not be recycled was often trucked or sent to landfills, such as the now-dormant Fresh Kills Landfill on Staten Island.1 And many New York residents can certainly remember when nearly every large building in apartments had an incinerator—a situation that came to an end in the late 1980s, when recycling was introduced and incinerators were banned. (1)

Nowadays garbage is being exported from the city, either by train, truck or barge. (1) DSNY trucks take the garbage to the fully enclosed factory, where it is dumped from the trucks and then placed in rail containers, which are then sealed. (1) Once garbage leaves waste transfer facilities, it often ends up in private landfills in states such as Ohio and Pennsylvania. (1) Waste Management Inc. also operates recycling plants, also known as material recovery facilities (MRFs). (1) Materials run in a recycling plant facility are separated into different types (fiber, plastic, metal, glass), compressed, packaged, and shipped to factories that convert these materials into new paper products, containers, etc. (1)