What is recycling in New York state
In a nutshell, recycling is a way of transforming substances and materials into new ones, in order to limit pollution and the consumption of resources linked to the manufacture of new products.
A distinction is generally made between closed-loop recycling, in which products of similar quality are produced, and open-loop recycling, where the material produced is integrated into goods that are different from the original product.
Recycling in NY has seen some progress in recent years, and 46% of household waste is now recycled in New York state. The problem is that our consumption continues to grow in ever greater proportions and that the amount of waste in the state is now reaching peaks.
Easily understand NY recycling
Our lifestyles and consumption patterns have a direct impact on our environment, and our growth is still too often at the expense of nature, which has so much to offer us. Fortunately, mentalities are changing thanks to the ecological awareness that highlights, every day, all the unimaginable services provided by our beautiful planet.
So to give him back a bit, we are now multiplying eco-responsible initiatives in the hope of giving him some respite, one small gesture at a time. Recycling is one of these initiatives and allows for tremendous resource and energy savings every year. So we will focus on its operation and its advantages but also on its limits, because recycling is still developing and will absolutely have to be improved in the years to come.
Recycling today in Syracuse, NY
Every year around the world, nearly 2 billion tons of solid waste are produced, and it is estimated that this figure will rise to 3.4 billion by 2050. We also see that the mass of waste varies widely from one country to another, particularly depending on the average income per capita. For example, a North American will throw away on average 2.21 kg of waste each day while a sub-Saharan African will only produce 460 grams.
On the other hand, only 2% of waste will be thrown into nature in rich countries, compared to 93% in regions with lower incomes, due to a lack of sufficient collection systems. Despite numerous innovations at the local level, public or illegal landfills are increasing and today represent more than 4% of the planet’s CO2 emissions.
As for richer countries like the USA, waste is better collected but recycling systems are still far from uniform. The United States, for example, the largest producer of waste in the world, currently only recycles 35%, which places it eighteenth in the ranking of the best international recyclers.
In New York state, with more than 600 kg of household waste generated per year and per inhabitant, we reach one million tons annually to which we must also add construction waste and industrial waste, the proportion of which is 2 to 8 times greater.
As a result, it is spilling over almost everywhere on the planet to the point that the countries of South-East Asia are refusing one by one to accept waste from the West. It must be said that for years, the United States, Canada and Europe had gotten into the habit of exporting thousands of tons of waste daily to China, the Philippines, Malaysia or the Indonesia. Waste supposed to be recycled, but a good part of which ultimately ended up in illegal open-air dumps.
To limit the practice, China has chosen to tighten its regulations by refusing around twenty types of solid waste from January 1, 2018, including many plastics and papers.
From now on, for containers that do not comply with the rules, it is back to the sender with the obligation to find emergency solutions to deal with these mountains of waste.
A complex waste management process
In the meantime, the production of household waste has doubled in 40 years in new York state and three quarters of it is still buried or burned, which contributes to the pollution of water, soil, air and direct emissions of greenhouse gases. This is a dangerous waste management situation.
80% of marine waste comes from land, and plastic, long considered a tremendous breakthrough in all sectors, now floats en masse in our fresh waters and oceans. Giant continents of waste have formed all over the planet’s large bodies of water and it is estimated that the oceans will contain more plastic than fish by 2050.
The threat is all the more insidious because plastics never completely disappear. Over the course of a few centuries, they end up degrading into microscopic particles and infiltrate all links in the food chain. On land or in the seas, animals swallow them and we eventually find them on our plates by consuming these same animals.
As for the waste treatment methods put in place, they are generally all questionable. Each year, for example, 35% of our waste is incinerated in New York. So of course, combustion is used to create energy. It is used to both produce heat and electricity which will then be distributed throughout the region throughout the year.
According to this website, the process generates a considerable quantity of CO2, and combustion leads to the formation of solid residues such as clinker which will then be buried in storage sites, or recycled in the construction of infrastructure.
The problem is that clinker is made up of highly toxic pollutants and that no management method currently really makes it possible to prevent pollution of soils and groundwater. A recycling rate which is therefore ultimately biased by this reuse which is not so environmentally friendly.
26% of our waste will be sent to local landfill in New York state. This represents approximately 16% of our country’s methane emissions and a large share of soil and water pollution.
As for recycling, it is an excellent way to avoid having to use new raw materials but is still insufficient.
And yet, selective sorting is progressing. 34% of Syracuse residents say they are very sensitive to the environment and 77% say they sort their waste.