New York Asked Businesses to Work Towards Zero Waste, And It’s Working
This year, more than thirty prominent businesses in the New York City area—ranging from Viacom to Whole Foods—were able to cut their waste production in half, which helped to push NYC one step closer to finally becoming a true zero-waste city, according to The Huffington Post. This substantial sustainable effort was spurred by Mayor Bill de Blasio’s “Zero Waste Challenge,” which called on 31 businesses to cut their waste generation by 50 percent by June of this year.
In total, businesses that participated in the challenge were able to avoid sending 35,000 tons of garbage to landfills and incinerators. Much of this trash was actually composted, and a fair portion of the food waste—amounting to roughly 300 tons—was donated to meal-insecure New Yorkers. De Blasio started the challenge at the beginning of the year, and it was an integral part of his administration’s OneNYC platform, which focuses on reducing the overall amount of waste that New York City sends to landfills over the course of the next two decades.
The city produces a fair amount of waste: in fact, it generates 33 million tons on an annual basis, and one-third of that is food waste. Slowing the flow of waste to landfills is critical, as landfills are a primary source of methane (a potent greenhouse gas). De Blasio hopes, aside from helping New York to become a zero-waste city, to also reduce New York’s greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050 as well—this means that cutting down on the amount of waste sent to landfills is especially important.
Overall, most participating businesses cut the amount of waste sent to landfills by 56 percent, and one produce distribution company, D’Arrigio Bros., actually reduced its waste generation between February and June of this year by 90 percent. In short, while New York has a ways to go before it’s a total zero-waste city, it’s on the right path. Are you curious to learn more about why zero waste is so important? Please read this post on the benefits of zero-waste to landfill.