Press Release

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Part of NEXTGENERATION NYCHA and OneNYC, Recycling Program Furthers Ambitious Plan to Send Zero Waste to Landfill by 2030

NEW YORK — Today, the New York City Housing Authority General Manager Michael Kelly was joined by the New York City Department of Sanitation Commissioner Kathyrn Garcia and Mayor’s Office of Sustainability Director Nilda Mesa to announce that all NYCHA developments will recycle by next year. The plan is an important part of the administration’s plan for a stronger, more equitable, more sustainable, and more resilient New York City, OneNYC. The agencies made this announcement, which is also part of NYCHA’s NextGeneration plan announced last week, at Sheepshead and Nostrand Houses in Brooklyn, in partnership with GrowNYC.

Throughout New York City, NYCHA residents generate 130,000 to 190,000 tons of solid waste per year. Under the leadership of Chair and CEO Shola Olatoye and General Manager Michael Kelly, the Authority will embark on a coordinated effort to substantially increase recycling in public housing. Dual recycling bins will be strategically-placed throughout Sheepshead/Nostrand Houses, Bronx River, Bronx River Addition, and Boynton Avenue Rehab, followed by a continuous larger roll-out to every NYCHA development by the end of 2016. NYCHA will continue to work closely with DSNY and GrowNYC to develop a coordinated strategy with property management and resident leaders that maximizes efforts and encourages residents to divert recyclables to the proper bins.

Although in prior years NYCHA has undertaken efforts to increase recycling across its 328 developments, the scope of enforcement and ongoing funding deficits that limited resources made such efforts challenging. Additionally, aging infrastructure created unique problems in addressing energy efficiency; yet public housing residents have remained highly engaged in efforts to increase energy efficiency and NYCHA has been steadily implementing sustainability initiatives over the past decade— including the energy-efficient refrigerator replacement program, conversion of boilers to natural gas, energy efficiency lighting retrofits, computerized heating automated system, and other measures. These sustainability initiatives have saved NYCHA tens of millions of dollars in utility costs.

NYCHA is prepared to go even further to pursue a comprehensive sustainability strategy that will make our developments greener and generate significant savings. Just last month, the de Blasio administration announced an innovative plan to upgrade and retrofit thousands of public housing buildings, dramatically reducing greenhouse gas emissions, generating tens of millions of dollars in cost savings, and creating more than 500 jobs. Additionally, NYCHA will deploy $3 billion of funding from FEMA— the largest FEMA grant in history— to repair, protect, and make much more resilient over 400 buildings within 33 public housing developments that sustained severe damage during Hurricane Sandy.

“Today, New Yorkers overall recycling roughly 15% of their residential waste. Our city can do better, and we will begin right here at NYCHA. OneNYC and the NextGeneration NYCHA will lead us to not only minimize our carbon footprint through increasing recycling and targeting those developments with the highest utility costs, but further invest in New York City’s future and the ongoing renewal of public housing. I am proud to join the administration, the Department of Sanitation, and our partners at Grow NYC in implementing this program and working towards a more efficient and sustainable future,” said NYCHA General Manager Michael Kelly.

“As part of NYCHA’s NextGen plan, I’m pleased that NYCHA is adding a full scale recycling effort to reach its sustainability goals and to help their developments meet the City’s compliance with the recycling law,” said Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia. “NYCHA and its residents have Sanitation’s support as they seek to handle their waste more effectively. The recycling effort being launched today encourages NYCHA residents to recycle and brings all NYCHA developments in partnership with the administration’s OneNYC sustainability plan.”

“It’s about time that the 400,000 New Yorkers who live in our public housing have equal access to recycling. We will make it a reality, as we said we would in OneNYC, by installing bins in all NYCHA developments by the end of next year -- also by working closely with residents and building managers to get the bins set up in the right locations,” said Nilda Mesa, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability. “I’d like to see NYCHA recycling rates shoot above the city average, and I think we can do it.”

“Implementing new recycling efforts at NYCHA developments will help residents live green lives and reduce the thousands of tons of solid waste that take a heavy toll on the environment. I applaud the Mayor’s sustainability initiatives in public housing and across the city,” said Council Member Ritchie Torres, Chair of the Committee on Public Housing.

"I am extremely happy that NYCHA has taken on this great effort to do recycling at Sheepshead/Nostrand Houses," said Council Member Alan Maisel.

“I want to thank Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Garcia for making this commitment to ensuring that all NYCHA residents have the opportunity to recycle. NYCHA’s infrastructure presents a challenge for recycling, and I am happy to see the administration thinking creatively about how to address this issue, “ said Council Member Antonio Reynoso. “More than 7% of NYC residents live in public housing, and giving them the opportunity to recycle is a major step toward our goal of sending zero waste to landfill by 2030.”

“Our partnership with NYCHA and DSNY is a natural and exciting extension of GrowNYC's commitment to making NYC the most sustainable city in the world. GrowNYC pounds the pavement year-round, working with residents, tenants, supers and property owners to improve recycling throughout the city. NYCHA properties represent the largest public housing authority in North America. Under the leadership of DSNY and NYCHA, GrowNYC will engage NYCHA residents and staff directly, providing the outreach tools necessary to drastically move the needle upwards by capturing the recyclables of some 400,000 city residents before they end up in the landfill.” said GrowNYC Executive Director Marcel Van Ooyen.

Mayor De Blasio recently announced the administration’s Zero Waste plan to tackle the city’s trash problem and reduce waste exports from 3.6 million tons to 600,000 tons by 2030. As part of NextGeneration NYCHA, Chairwoman Olatoye has stated that by the end of 2016, all of the city’s public housing will be in compliance with the New York City Recycling Law.