Thursday, May 18, 2006

Garbage Costs Spiral

The NY Times is reporting today on the sanitation budget hearing that was held yesterday before Mike McMahon's City Council committee. Commissioner Doherty testified and it now appears that the cost of closing the Fresh Kills landfill is now going to exceed $1.4 billion. Just another example of how these original cost estimates need to be taken with a grain of salt.

In this regard it is important to highlight that none of the city's estimates when it comes to the construction of waste transfer stations and the resulting garbage exports can be taken at face value. The city's SWMP will inevitably be a fiscal black hole and the primary reasons are the dependence on an export-landfill methodology and the failure to devise a credible waste reduction plan.

What mystifies us, however, is the uncritical support for the plan coming from the local environmental lobby. The Times points out that, "Environmentalists support the plan because it emphasizes recycling and seeks to haul more garbage by barge and rail than by truck..." This is a complete fantasy, at least in regards to the recycling issue.

How many times do we need to point out that the "Emperor's New Clothes" has nothing on the mayor's recycling proposals. Put simply, there is no concrete proposal to increase the city's recycling efforts. All we have gotten is the typical jawboning that amounts to little more than feel good BS.

Which is why the Alliance's advocacy of food waste disposers makes so much sense on so many different levels. Whether we're talking about waste reduction, increased recycling, reduced truck traffic or improved public health, the use of FWDs can play a critical role. That is why we're confident that Intro 133 will be moved in the coming short term. It just makes sense to try this approach on an experimental level and, hopefully, expand it into a key waste disposal methodology.