Bloomberg News

New York’s Trash Costs Climbing Decade After Fresh Kills Closed

December 07, 2011

Dec. 6 (Bloomberg) -- New York City’s $1 billion annual waste-disposal costs are rising and plans to find less costly options have stalled a decade after Fresh Kills, the world’s biggest landfill, was closed in 2001.

About 11,000 tons of municipal solid waste is created every day in New York, most of which is hauled by truck to landfills as far away as South Carolina, according to a study released by the New York League of Conservation Voters.

Community activists and concerns about a return to 1970s incinerator pollution have frustrated the city’s efforts to find new ways to handle the mountain of garbage, said Marcia Bystryn, president of the environmental activist group.

People opposing development in their neighborhoods “are the biggest impediment to a positive solution,” Bystryn said today in an interview at a conference in New York. “Long-haul transport is costly and going up, it’s bad for the environment and relies on other states continuing to take it from us.”

Projects that would address some of these issues have run into hurdles, according to the report. Budget concerns and community opposition in Manhattan have stymied plans to spend $363 million to retrofit transfer stations to load waste onto barges.

Garbage passing through the stations would be shipped to nearby waste-to-energy plants, including one owned by Covanta Holding Corp. in Newark, reducing the estimated $300 million the city spends annually on long-haul trucking.

“We’ve been trying to make these things community friendly,” said Caswell Holloway, New York’s deputy mayor for operations. “People don’t want these facilities in their communities.”

--Editors: Will Wade, Charles Siler

To contact the reporter on this story: Christopher Martin in New York at cmartin11@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at landberg@bloomberg.net.


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