The mayor has promised to double the city's recycling rate and expand the type of plastics the city recycles, and NY1 got an exclusive tour of a new processing facility in Brooklyn under construction that will be run by Sims Metal Management. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.
Jutting out of the Brooklyn waterfront is the future of New York City's recycling program: a $110 million recycling plant still under construction, which will be operated by Sims Metal Management.
"We will take Bronx and Queens material and parts of Brooklyn via barge," said Thomas Outerbridge of Sims Municipal Recycling, the city's recycling contractor.
This facility is the centerpiece of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's promise to increase recycling.
"You see, we are all hoping that the tonnage the city collects will increase or participation rates will increase. We could run 18,000 tons through this plant," Outerbridge said.
Barges will deliver New Yorkers' bottle and cans at a massive warehouse. Machines will tear open the bags and the contents will run along conveyor belts through scanners, to be sorted.
"It falls into these bunkers and when any given particular bunker is full, the gate will lift, and material will be conveyed into bailers down on that end," Outerbridge said.
Each of these bins will carry a different product, such as soda bottles or milk cartons. Eventually they will carry a much larger array of plastics, like yogurt containers. It is all part of the city's expansion of its recycling program.
In his State Of The City address on February 14, Bloomberg said, "We will also make major steps towards another major sustainability goal that we have set: doubling the city's recycling rate to 30 percent by 2017."
The city has promised to start recycling bulk plastics, like takeout containers, this summer, but Outerbridge said it is not yet clear exactly how that will happen.
"We're not going to simply say 'all plastics' because that ranges from a garden hose to a yogurt container," Outerbridge said. "So what we're going to try to do is come up with some definition of what are acceptable plastics that works for us and is understandable by the public. And I don't have that right now, but that's something we are going to have to work out with the city in the next weeks and months."
They say there is still time to iron out the kinks, as the plant is opening in the summer.