Another interesting component of Bloomberg’s update to PlaNYC: the mayor has said that he wants to reduce reliance on landfills by converting solid waste into energy.
Some are referring to this as “burning garbage,” which may be overstating the issue a bit. The new PlaNYC plan mentions that the city may explore technology that converts waste into energy, but it seems that for now, we’ll be sticking with out of town landfills.
“While we are continuously researching alternative methods for disposal and working to increase our diversion rate (the percentage of materials recovered from the general waste stream),” it says on page 137, “we will likely maintain our reliance on landfills far from the city.”
The booklet notes, however, that this isn’t a viable long-term solution. It outlines some of the ways that the city can encourage its residents to recycle, and mentions a few processing technologies that may be commercially applicable in New York-though one would hope that these would be a little more scientifically advanced than simple incineration. There’s a lot of talk of exploration of these technologies, but not much concrete discussion of implementation.
“We will expand opportunities for community-based composting and encourage commercial food waste recovery operations,” the plan reads. “Advances in technology will also allow us to pursue alternative disposal methods by safely and efficiently converting our waste into a source of clean energy.”
It adds, “We will analyze opportunities to use new conversion technologies as commercially viable alternatives to landfilling.”
Well, if it works for Denmark….