New Yorkers make a lot of garbage. We create more than 44 million pounds of residential and commercial waste every day–about a ton per person annually. Of that, only a third is recycled, composted or burned to generate energy. The rest is dumped in landfills. A recent Crain’s article explains how Mayor Bill de Blasio hopes to make a serious dent in all that dumping. He has pledged that by 2030, the city would be sending “zero waste” to landfills: “This is the way of the future if we’re going to save our Earth.” But like most things, the success of any plans to reduce the rubbish pile hinges on two things: management, and incentive (which, for most New Yorkers, means money).
Sims Municipal Recycling
Photo via Big Reuse/Instagram
Each day, the 11-acre Sims Municipal Recycling facility unloads up to 450 tons of waste on a city-owned pier (on what used to be an NYPD impoundment lot) in the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal. Though this seems like a dirty job, the process of recycling all this glass and plastic turns out to be strangely beautiful. CityLab recently explored the facility’s photogenic quality through Instagram photos and talked to its manager to learn that recycling in NYC is not an urban myth like some people believe. In fact, since 2013, around 7,000 guests have toured the Sims facility.