North Brooklyn May Lead Charge on Solving City’s Trash Crisis

North Brooklyn is on route to pioneer a solution to at least one of New York City’s trash problems.

And Waste Management, one of the nation’s largest private trash collection companies and environmental solutions provider, is looking to be that change maker.

Working in coordination with the city’s Department of Sanitation (DSNY) and Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Waste Management of New York (WMNY) is seeking to establish a pilot program to recycle Brooklyn’s food waste.

The organization has applied to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) to alter its permit to allow it to operate source separated organic (SSO) equipment –essentially the processing of food waste – at its Varick Avenue solid waste transfer station.

Currently, close to 30 percent of the city’s waste is eligible for source separated composting, according to the DSNY.

“New York City has efforts under way to divert this material from the waste stream for composting and generation of renewable energy,” said George McGrath, a spokesperson for WMNY. “WMNY is installing the SSO equipment at the Varick facility as part of a demonstration project to test the effectiveness of this technology in converting food waste to a renewable energy source.”

For Waste Management, it will be the first time it tests the SSO equipment in the New York City area, and based on the success of the pilot program, it will seek to implement it elsewhere as well.

Well known to North Brooklynites, this community, along with the South Bronx and Southeast Queens processes over 70 percent of the city’s trash. The city’s treatment facility in North Brooklyn, alone, processes close to 7,000 tons of trash each day.

The pilot program would be yet another solution the city is exploring, especially in the aftermath of increased protests to equally distribute the burden of trash among the boroughs. The problematic implementation of the Solid Waste Management Plan (SWMP), which would have allowed for such a distribution, means that the solution being explored by WMNY might be one of the ways to go.

WMNY will host a public meeting next month for the community to raise its questions and concerns regarding the project. The State will then review those comments before making its decision on WMNY’s application.

At present, WMNY’s Varick Street facility accepts residential waste collected by the DSNY in Brooklyn, and then transports it in sealed rail cars to be taken to disposal sites outside the city.

WMNY has assured that the new technology will not pose any health risks to the community.

“SSO processing involves food waste and does not pose any health or environmental risks,” said McGrath. “All of the SSO processing takes place within Waste Management’s Varick solid waste transfer station, within a fully enclosed building with environmental controls to protect air quality and minimize impacts from noise and odors.”

WMNY Meeting for SSO Equipment Installation, August 7, 2014, 6 p.m., 211 Ainslie Street, for more information contact Joanne Persad with WMNY at 718-533-5267.


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  1. Strange that WM reportedly did little to save the Delaware site from closing….

    John papandrea · Dec 11, 09:26 AM · #

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