As we start the New Year it is a good time to contemplate the flawed SWMP that the mayor promulgated and the Council passed last summer. The most glaring among these flaws is the almost total absence of any coherent, and cost-effective, waste reduction strategy. As one council staffer told us, "This was all about social justice and cost factors were never really considered."
What we do have is an almost comical six person Office of Recycling that is headed by a well-meaning fellow who doesn't have either the experience or the institutional authority to raise recycling rats enough so as to make a real dent in the city's export costs. What we have here is the same old, ideologically driven recycling mindset that believes that once the city finds the will to increase its recycling rates these rates will inevitably go up. As the leading proponent of this "field of dreams philosophy," the NRDC's Eric Goldstein told the NY Sun last year, "There is a widespread feeling that those numbers will turn around in the next year or so."
What's more likely is that the cost of exporting the unreduced garbage tonnage will escalate significantly while recycling efforts flounder in the midst of institutional in-fighting. In the process, the most recyclable element of the waste stream, commercial food waste, will continue to rot in the city's neighborhoods as the Goldstein's of the world continue to pursue their quixotic adventures.