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New York City Aims to Cut Waste 90 Percent by 2030

The Big Apple is going to polish its act when it comes to waste. The nation's biggest city, in a far-reaching effort to limit its impact on the environment, is set to mark Earth Day by announcing the ambitious goal of reducing its waste output by 90 percent by 2030.

The Zero Waste plan, which includes an overhaul of the city's recycling program, incentives to reduce waste and tacit support for the City Council's plan to dramatically reduce the use of plastic shopping bags, will be announced by Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio on Wednesday. Its goal is sweeping: New York would be the largest city in the Western Hemisphere to adopt the plan, which aims to reduce the amount of its waste by more than 3 million tons from its 2005 level of about 3.6 million tons.

"The average New Yorker throws out nearly 15 pounds of waste a week, adding up to millions upon millions of tons a year," de Blasio said in a statement to The Associated Press. "To be a truly sustainable city, we need to tackle this challenge head on."

For decades, the city's trash has been exported by rail or barge and sent to facilities in South Carolina, Virginia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania or upstate New York. The new plan would eliminate almost all of the garbage exports, which currently cost more than $350 million a year.

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-- The Associated Press