Volume 76, Number 45 | April 4 - 10, 2007

Villager photo by Esther Martin

New color-coded cans for recycling waste have been placed around Union Square Park.

Pilot program for garbage recycling in Union Square

By Esther Martin

Last Wednesday, a new recycling program, The Public Space Recycling Pilot, was announced by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty and Councilmember Michael McMahon, chairperson of the Council’s Committee on Sanitation and Solid Waste Management. The program will be a collaboration of the Department of Sanitation with the Department of Parks and Recreation and the Department of Transportation.

Blue receptacles for recycling plastic and glass bottles and metals cans, and green ones for paper, are being placed in “key locations,” according to a press release from the Mayor’s Office.

Union Square Park was one of the six parks chosen for the three-month test run. Other park test sites include Columbus Park in Brooklyn, Poe Park in the Bronx, Hoffman Park in Queens and Tappen Park and Clove Lakes Park in Staten Island. Two of the cans are also on the Staten Island side of the Staten Island Ferry.

The blue and green bins were placed throughout and around Union Square Park, mostly next to existing garbage bins, to make the choice to recycle an easier one.

These sites were chosen with the goal of encouraging recycling as people enter and exit the subway.

The pilot program, which began on Mon., April 2, and will run through the end of June, is a piece of the plan that was developed last summer to manage New York City’s solid waste and part of Bloomberg’s effort to expand the city’s recycling program. After the mayor suspended most of the recycling program early in his first term, the rate of residential trash sorted as recyclable has dwindled, according to an article in The New York Times. This public-space recycling program will be the first step in an effort to renew good recycling habits and remind people to always separate their trash.

When collected, the refuse from the blue and green cans will be examined in a waste-characterization study that will show the effectiveness of the program, according to the mayor’s press release. If it is found that people use the receptacles to sort and recycle their refuse as they walk through parks and in and out of subway terminals, the recycling program will be expanded to cover a more extensive area.

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