New York, USA has a population of around 20 million and produces 33 million tons of waste per year, making it the number one city of waste production, it produces more then double the waste of the number two, Mexico City. The USA produces more waste than any other country in the world, and New York City presents the greatest challenges of all because of its dense population. What makes the US and New York also different is the fact that usually increasing wealth means an increase of waste. In the US its also the poorer population which takes care of a considerable amount of the waste, largely thanks to the fast food packaging industry. Also food waste is a huge issue in the USA and New York. Together with China and Indonesia is the US the biggest plastic polluter of the oceans.
Still New York does better then other cities in the US: often paper, plastic bottles and cans are being separated, but there are few recycling industries yet. Most of New York’s waste goes to landfills in other US states or to incinerators, also mostly located out of state.
To tackle those challenges, under Mayor De Blasio’s guidance, NY City has begun it’s ‘Zero Waste’ initiative, bringing in a fresh and forward looking take on processing the city’s waste.
In recycling and management New York is more advanced then many of the other American cities, but the sheer amount makes it almost impossible to deal with.