NYCHA Cuts Its Carbon Footprint with Recycling Initiative
NYCHA’s recycling initiative has been in the works for years now and has finally come to fruition. It is a cooperative effort between NYCHA and Mayor Bill de Blasio to bring NYCHA into compliance with NYC’s recycling law.
The recycling rollout began with pilot systems at five developments, and will have reached all 300+ developments by the end of 2016.
The current rollout is the culmination of a two-year process of analysis and recommendations from NYCHA staff, residents, and waste management groups, but the end result is something that the Authority is proud to be able to implement.
With over 400,000 residents, NYCHA makes up a huge part of NYC’s population, and consequently, its impact– so what happens to the residents’ waste is of considerable significance in any conversation about making New York City more sustainable.
“We are excited that we are including all of the key stakeholders in the process as we roll-out and to be part of Mayor’s Zero Waste plan,” stated Elena Tenchikova, Project Manager for rolling out recycling citywide at NYCHA. “With the size of NYCHA, we can make a significant imprint on NYC diversion rate and make our communities cleaner and safer for our residents. “
The process of bringing recycling to each development will include physically installing new bins (which have been custom-designed for NYCHA), posting flyers about what to recycle, and holding kickoff meetings hosted by GrowNYC to get the conversation started with residents.
As anticipated, the RGCs are overjoyed to finally have such a system being put in place, and they are leading the charge of bringing recycling to their neighborhoods.
NYCHA staff agree that residents adopting this plan and wanting to take action on their own will be a critical part of the process if the recycling initiative is going to be successful.
“We can put all of the different types of infrastructure in place, but it takes the people to bring it out and to recycle properly,” Tenchikova explained. “It starts with looking at what is typically considered trash as a resource, something valuable and something that can be transformed into something new.,” which is precisely what many of our RGCs already do.
At Pink Houses, RGC members participated in the initial walk-through to determine the best locations for the new bins on the development grounds, as well as the first community outreach meeting to let all the residents know about the new system.
Several RGCs, such as the one in Far Rockaway, had already implemented their own recycling setups, so this universal system is a long-awaited improvement that should make the process much easier.
The recycling initiative is just one of many pieces of NextGeneration NYCHA, the authority’s ten-year strategic plan to create safe, clean and connected communities, and preserve public housing for future generations.
Some other major changes planned to contribute to the authority’s effort to sustain itself include energy conservation measures and an emphasis on green infrastructure when designing new construction or executing repairs.
Overall, the outlook is positive now that nearly half a million more New Yorkers will be able to recycle within the next 18 months.
“Everyone makes a difference and it starts with people making a choice to care,” Tenchikova concluded. “Change doesn’t happen over night, it’s starts with people taking the steps….and it starts with you!”
You can read more about NextGen NYCHA and the recycling rollout process here.