A Glimpse into the History of Recycling in New York City

New York City City, comprising 5 boroughs, has a population of over 8 million and is smaller than a lot of states.  You can only imagine just how much waste is produced every single day. Recycling in New York City is mandated and has been law since July 1989. Prior July 1989, beginning in 1986, recycling was voluntary, and, as its popularity rose, recycling-related educational items, from handouts, decals to television and paper advertisements, flooded NY until around 1997, when all 5 boroughs and all 59 districts were recycling the same sorts of things. By this time, a heavy impression was being made in recycling waste, until the occasions of September 11th, 2001. After the 9/11 catastrophe required spending plan cuts were executed for the Department of Sanitation.

It’s hard to believe that a city as inhabited as New York City took until 1881 before its first sanitation collection company was begun. The company was formed in an effort to tidy up the city’s cluttered streets and to stop the nearby population from disposing of their waste straight into the Atlantic Ocean. In 1881, the Department of Street Cleaning was formed and the New York City Police Department was no longer responsible for the waste issues. It is essentially the very same department today with the exception of a 1933 name change into the Department of Sanitation.

Prior to the development of the Department of Sanitation, more than 3/4 of all waste from the city of New York was just disposed into the ocean. A few years later, in 1895, the first recycling strategy was carried out by Commissioner George Waring in which his strategy separated household waste into 3 classifications: (1) food waste, (2) rubbish (i.e., general) waste, and (3) ash waste.

The only classification of the 3 waste types that might not be reused was ash, and whatever products originated from the rubbish classification that might not be reused were taken to landfills. Food waste, which went through a procedure of being steamed, as it was discovered, could be developed into fertilizer and grease products that were utilized to produce other items, such as soap. The classification of rubbish was taken and reused.

New York City had filled to capability 6 landfills and was required to keep them closed from 1965 to 1991, which exposed only one active landfill, Fresh Kills in Staten Island, which remained the only trash-accepting landfill up until it permanently closed in 2001.

Besides the momentary pause of recycling due to World War I in 1918, New York City has kept a stable circulation of recycling for more than a century, and, at one time, ran twenty 2 incinerators and 89 landfills.  Recycling continues today in New York City as a necessary action for all locals, schools, organizations, companies, and all business companies.

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