Sustainable Travel International recently posted the following article about Live Earth and the trash generated at New York’s Giant Stadium, one of its venues. Guiding Question: Events like Live Earth are great at raising awareness about our environmental footprint, but once the event is over, it seems like we go back to business as usual. What are some simple things we can do to sustain environmental awareness after major events to promote behavioral change after the crowds leave?
Earth recently rocked the green world as it relates to waste and carbon
reduction, but what happens next at these venues, and in these cities?
New York City’s Giants Stadium, for example, a successful triple waste
stream management program geared toward separating compost, recyclables
and ‘other’ materials, resulted in an estimated 50% reduction in waste
for that event. However, it cost a lot relative to standard waste
removal. Why is this? Why does NYC, one of the most densely waste
populated and least landfill available cities on the planet, charge $50
per ton in tipping fees for standard waste being dumped in landfills,
and an $80-90 per ton tipping fee for recyclables? Shouldn’t it be the
other way around? Consider GHG emissions associated with waste versus
recycling: for each pound of trash recycled it reduces an average of
one pound of carbon dioxide equivalent from going into the atmosphere.
Now, I don’t know exactly what NYC’s waste stream is, but here are some
figures on Google:
"NYC currently produces about 11,000 tons per
day of residential waste, 10,000 tons per day of commercial waste, and
26,000 tons per day of construction and demolition debris." (Source: www.weact.org/mts/wasteexport.html)
looking at residential and commercial waste, it totals 21,000 tons per
day, or over seven and half million tons per year!!! If half were
recycled, you’re looking at 3,832,500 tons of carbon dioxide reduced
each year, not counting the added emissions savings from the fact that
much of this waste is now exported out of state. Recycling this amount
would be equivalent to taking about three quarters of a million cars
off the road for a year, or about 28,500 acres of avoided
deforestation. Bearing in mind emissions reduction targets set forth by
many cities, we look forward to hearing more about how NYC is tackling
climate mitigation as it relates to waste management.
businesses looking at climate mitigation, better waste management is a
great way to go, as shown by the example above. If you’re interested in
learning more, STI and its sustainable advising team can help, so
please contact us.