THE PROBLEM: TOO MUCH TRASH
New York City produces over 14 Million tons of trash every year with most of it trucked long-haul to out-of-state landfills. In a typical year, we spend more than $300 million dollars on trash transport while incurring a hefty environmental bill along the way.
We send trucks millions of miles every year, creating traffic, noise pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions. All of this so that our waste can be landfilled, where it then rots and creates even more greenhouse gas. It’s a big, dirty problem.
THE IDEA: THE GREEN LOOP
The Green Loop is a composting hub and park, and part of a larger proposal for a network of ten waterfront composting hubs in New York City.
Each Green Loop has a street-level composting facility with an elevated public park on top that’s large enough to accommodate anything from educational facilities and neighborhood gardens to cross-country skiing in the winter. New York City has less open space per person than almost every major city in the country, so the Green Loop alleviates two major urban problems at once.
THE PLAN: A GREEN NETWORK
Locating a network of Green Loops along New York City’s 520 miles of waterfront addresses three important planning issues. First, it takes advantage of the City’s existing transportation infrastructure. Trucks deliver waste a short distance to one of the Loops, with barges and rail transporting finished compost product away.
Next, having a composting hub in each borough addresses “borough equity” in our waste management. “Borough Equity” ensures that every borough is responsible for processing its own waste instead of sending the entire city’s trash to one or two over-burdened boroughs. Lastly, location. NYC needs more open space, and as part of its Vision 2020: Comprehensive Waterfront Plan, it's steadily improving public access and developing the waterfront with parks, esplanades and bike paths. A network of Green Loops links into our developing shoreline.
THE FUTURE: LET’S THINK BIG
This proposal will create a network of composting parks processing our organic waste (30% of our residential waste stream), while adding 125 acres of public park land. This means drastically reduced truck miles to landfills, decreased traffic, noise, and pollution, with the added benefits of safer streets, cleaner air, and fewer greenhouse gas emissions. Plus a brand new type of public park and a product for market – compost made in NYC.
New York City is already piloting a curbside composting program, so composting will soon be a reality.
The Green Loop will take this reality many steps into the future for a better NYC for everyone.