Thursday, November 23, 2006

Grant Houses Initiates New Recycling Plan

Columbia Spectator
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Grant Houses Initiates New Recycling Plan
Program to Place Bins at Entrance of Building
By Sadia Latifi
Issue date: 11/22/06 Section: News

Bright blue and green bins were placed outside 3150 Broadway on La Salle Street on Tuesday, marking a renewed effort to increase residential recycling in the city.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Tuesday outside the building, part of the New York City Housing Authority's Grant Houses development, to launch a new recycling campaign in Morningside Heights and West Harlem. This initiative marks NYCHA's first attempt to standardize recycling programs in its public housing developments.

3150 Broadway is hosting the pilot program, which includes installing recycling bins outside the entrance of the building and educating tenants about the program. The Morningside Heights/West Harlem Sanitation Coalition has spent the last six weeks holding workshops on every floor of the building.

"This is the kickoff. If it works here, we'll take it to the rest of the developments in the city," said Gloria Allen, vice president of the Grant Houses residents' association.

The response has been mixed. Joan Levine, co-chair of the Sanitation Coalition, said that tenants at 3150 were not entirely receptive but that there are "lots of people who are knowledgeable and eager to do the right thing."

If the program succeeds, more recycling bins will be placed throughout the other buildings in the Grant Houses development. Both Levine and Sarah Martin, president of the residents' association of Grant Houses, said that they wanted to push to make sure all NYCHA housing developments eventually have bins installed.

"We're hoping, with education and a little bit of hoopla, we'll get people interested," said Levine. "We were struck by the fact that the city doesn't really do anything."

Levine added that in addition to decreasing the amount of waste in landfills, recycling would be especially important in reducing air pollution in West Harlem, which has a high rate of asthma cases.

"This is a win-win situation. We recycle more to waste less," said City Councilman Robert Jackson (D-Washington Heights).Both state assemblyman Danny O'Donnell and newly elected State Senator Bill Perkins (D-Harlem) briefly expressed their support.

"Your health is your wealth," Perkins said.Currently 16 percent of the city's residential waste is being recycled, according to the Department of Sanitation. The department's figures state that it costs the city $263 per ton to dispose of garbage and $343 per ton to recycle.

A new city department, the Office of Recycling Outreach and Education, will open in January 2007, according to the City Council's Sanitation Committee. The department will work with an approximated $7 million budget to teach New Yorkers about proper recycling and to help sell recycled goods.

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