Model City ProfileModel City Profile

New York, New York
Population: 8,214,426
Bottle Bill: Yes
Collection Method: Municipal employees
Funding: General Funded
Households Served: 3,021,588
Truck Type: Split and single compartment rear loading packers
Container Type: Up top 32 gallon rigid containers and clear bags
Materials Processing Facility: Dual stream processing
New York, New York

New York City has a long history of recycling. Its current residential recycling program -- which began in November 1986 -- is now an integral part of the Department of Sanitation’s (DSNY) overall operation. Since the City’s Fresh Kills’ Landfill closed in 2001, curbside recycling has significantly reduced the amount of waste that has to be exported. Last year New York City diverted approximately 600,000 tons of paper and metal/glass/plastic from disposal through their weekly curbside and containerized recycling collection program equating to an average of over 400 pounds collected per City household.

DSNY is responsible for collection of refuse and recycling from all residential units in the City. DSNY operates out of fifty nine District garages throughout the City, currently employing 6,466 Sanitation Workers (New York City’s “Strongest”). Very few cities in the nation collect from all types of buildings, no matter the size or number of units. On average, there are over 26,000 residents per square mile city-wide, with over 66,000 residents per square mile in Manhattan alone. This presents unique recycling collection challenges.

Residential recycling is collected by DSNY in two streams, and transferred or hauled direct to different processing facilities or end markets. The City’s Department of Sanitation has played a large role in developing and securing these long term markets with an effort to stabilize long-term recycling revenues, and ensure that at least a portion of the material collected is used locally, including NYC recycled paper processed at the Visy Paper Mill on Staten Island.

While the curbside and containerized recycling diversion rate is calculated at 16.5%, DSNY is responsible for the collection of all residential refuse left on the street, so that bulky items and other materials are included in the denominator.