The first issue the group wants to look at is the current conversation around transfer stations in New York City. Most of the current conversation revolves around a new marine transfer station in Manhattan, the first in the borough. Upper East Side groups have been vocal in their opposition to the project. Protesters cite the station’s high price tag, and its accompanying noise, traffic, and potential loss of public space as reasons to stop construction. Resident objections have slowed down and changed the course of the project. Notably, in 2015, protests resulted in a $30 million decision to move an entry ramp one block north of its planned location, as it originally passed through local recreation fields. Reports highlight all efforts being made in the new facility to mitigate smells and sounds associated with waste processing. Mentions of existing transfer stations in other boroughs present similar public disapproval, without the mitigation efforts of the Upper East Side location. Particularly in Brooklyn, where transfer stations are still landlocked, residents describe rat infestations and trash spilling from trucks entering the facility. For those outside Manhattan, the new marine transfer station (and the stalled plans for others throughout the city) represent “waste equity” across all boroughs.
The second aspect of the marine transfer stations that we wanted to look into was who were the parties involved. As one might expect a variety of neighborhood organizations, some explicitly formed for this purpose, were interested in the location of the marine transfer stations because of concerns with truck noise and smells. However, a number of other groups have been involved in discussions about the planned detailed operation of those stations including everything from what refuse those stations would process to financial incentives that host neighborhoods were promised by privately held waste transfer companies.
These debates have been going on since Mayor Giuliani orchestrated an effort in the late 90’s to close the Fresh Kills Landfill on Staten Island by 2001. This closure necessitated an alternative plan for dealing with refuse. Part of this plan involved new/alternative transfer stations from which waste could be transported outside of the city by barge or rail. While it was not surprising to learn that City Councilors from Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx all spoke out at different times and often repeatedly championing their respective cases to keep the transfer stations out of their boroughs, the number of other private and public interests involved in the discussion makes understanding the issue confusing and complex. For example from the readily available reporting, it is not clear what potential bias the Sanitation Commissioner might have in defending one plan over another. In a variety of reports community groups or city politicians appealed to state or federal environmental watchdogs to challenge the legality of various proposals. The investigation of interested parties leaves one wondering what entity has jurisdiction over whom and what and whether the current location of marine transfer stations was ultimately the result of shrewd political maneuvering. The third issue that interests the group is an in depth understanding of how the waste management system functions. It was less than 100 years ago when court order forced New York to stop dumping the city’s garbage into the Atlantic sea. It was from then on that the City varied from sending waste to municipal incinerators to municipal landfills and currently exports to more far away regions in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Virginia. New York City’s waste collection system is a combined effort between public and private sectors, where the Department of Sanitation is responsible for collecting all of the residential waste and government buildings as well as some non-profits. Private waste companies are responsible for collecting commercial waste. A few years after the closure of Staten Island’s last remaining landfill, Mayor Bloomberg and DSNY Commissioner proposed a Solid Waste Management Plan for New York City, where in an attempt to reduce truck traffic it is proposed the implementation of Marine Transfer Stations. According to the plan the usage of waterborne network is needed to reduce environmental damage of the carbon emissions from the truck fleet. The idea is that within 20 years long distance export of waste will be done in containers only by barge or rail. Transfer station is where the waste gets sorted and placed to then be transported to its final destination, which are mostly landfills, but some is exported to Essex Resources Recovery facility in Newark, where waste is burned to produce electricity. Recyclable waste is exported to the City’s handling and recovery facilities, where the recyclable material is sorted and separated and then goes to a variety of destinations such as: local raw material processors, sometimes sold to the direct end user, or even exported overseas to China or India.
“A Fair Way to Handle Trash.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 28 May 2012, www.nytimes.com/2012/05/29/opinion/a-fair-way-to-handle-trash.html.
Calder, Rich."Tons of wa$te (waste) in trash transport." The New York Post. (March 25, 2017 Saturday ): 190 words. LexisNexis Academic. Web. Date Accessed: 2018/02/08.
Chan, Sewell. "Transfer Stations in Park Raise Doubts About City Waste Plan." The New York Times. (February 20, 2006 Monday ): 1038 words. LexisNexis Academic. Web. Date Accessed: 2018/02/08.
Chapman, Matthew. “The New York Times Mayor de Blasio Real Estate = Garbage.” The Huffington Post, TheHuffingtonPost.com, 10 Dec. 2014, www.huffingtonpost.com/matthew-chapman/new-york-times-thanks-but_b_6226310.html.
Cohen, Mark Francis."NEIGBORHOOD REPORT: WILLIAMSBURG/GREENPOINT; For Nekboh, New Owner, New Fight." The New York Times. (May 26, 1996 , Sunday, Late Edition - Final ): 398 words. LexisNexis Academic. Web. Date Accessed: 2018/02/08.
Egbert, Bill. "FOES TRASH CITY PLANS FOR WASTE SAY IT SHOULD SHARE BURDEN." Daily News. (July 16, 2004 Friday ): 412 words. LexisNexis Academic. Web. Date Accessed: 2018/02/08.
Fermino, Jennifer."Pols trash city waste station plan." Daily News. (May 21, 2015 Thursday ): 144 words. LexisNexis Academic. Web. Date Accessed: 2018/02/08.
Galka, Max. “What does New York do with all that trash? One citys waste – in numbers.” The Guardian,
Garfield, Jed;Richard Frank & Virginia Lamb."A Trash Transfer Site on the Upper East Side?." The New York Times. (June 4, 2012 Monday ): 457 words. LexisNexis Academic. Web. Date Accessed: 2018/02/08.
Guardian News and Media, 27 Oct. 2016, www.theguardian.com/cities/2016/oct/27/new-york-rubbish-all-that-trash-city-waste-in-numbers.
Gonen, Yoav. “Moving UES Trash Ramp Costs a Heap.” The New York Post, 1 Aug. 2015, www.tinyurl.com/ycr5z74e.
Gregory, Kia. “Fight Awaits De Blasio on Opening Upper East Side Trash Transfer Site.” The New York Times, 5 Feb. 2015, www.nytimes.com/2014/02/05/nyregion/fight-awaits-de-blasio-on-opening-upper-east-side-trash-transfer-site.html.
Hu, Winnie. “New York's Growth Can Be Measured in Trash Bags.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 6 Feb. 2017, www.nytimes.com/2017/02/06/nyregion/new-yorks-growth-can-be-measured-in-trash-bags.html.
Martin, Douglas. "Trash-Station Proposal Greeted by Protests." The New York Times. (March 4, 1998 , Wednesday, Late Edition - Final ): 584 words. LexisNexis Academic. Web. Date Accessed: 2018/02/08.
“Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Sanitation Commissioner John J. Doherty Present Solid Waste Management Plan.” The official website of the City of New York, 7 Oct. 2004, http://www1.nyc.gov/office-of-the-mayor/news/265-04/mayor-michael-bloomberg-sanitation-commissioner-john-j-doherty-present-solid-waste#/4
Navarro, Mireya. "In Fight Against Trash Station, Upper East Side Cites Injustice." The New York Times. (July 1, 2011 Friday ): 1174 words. LexisNexis Academic. Web. Date Accessed: 2018/02/08.
Stewart, Barbara. "Complaint Says 3 Neighborhoods Bear Brunt of City Garbage." The New York Times. (July 25, 2000 , Tuesday, Late Edition - Final ): 559 words. LexisNexis Academic. Web. Date Accessed: 2018/02/08.
Taylor, Kate. "Mayoral Candidates Wrestle Over Waste Removal." The New York Times. (June 3, 2013 Monday ): 1057 words. LexisNexis Academic. Web. Date Accessed: 2018/02/08.
Temple, Dina "TRASH TRUCKS ARE THE PROBLEM, MAYOR DECLARES." The New York Sun. (October 8, 2004 Friday ): 794 words. LexisNexis Academic. Web. Date Accessed: 2018/02/08.
The Editorial Board. “A Promising Garbage Workaround.” The New York Times, 26 Jan. 2015, www.nytimes.com/2015/01/26/opinion/a-promising-garbage-workaround.html
“The Future of Waste in New York City.” Getting to zero, Open House New York, 18 Apr. 2017, www.gettingtozero.nyc/the-future-of-waste-in-new-york-city/.
Rohde, David. "NEIGHBORHOOD REPORT: BROOKLYN UP CLOSE; Early Round of Garbage, Garbage, Who Gets the Garbage?." The New York Times. (June 29, 1997 , Sunday, Late Edition - Final ): 442 words. LexisNexis Academic. Web. Date Accessed: 2018/02/08.
Rosengren, Cole. “To Meet Waste Goals, NYC Needs to Scrap How it Thinks About Garbage.” City Limits, 23 Feb. 2016, https://citylimits.org/2015/05/22/to-meet-waste-goals-nyc-needs-to-scrap-how-it-thinks-about-garbage/
Santora, Marc. “Trash Wars Rage On Around Brooklyn Transfer Point.” The New York Times, 24 Dec. 2016, www.nytimes.com/2016/12/23/nyregion/where-trash-makes-a-stop-in-brooklyn-neighbors-want-it-gone.html.
Waldman, Amy. "Trash Giant Skirts Conditions Set for Bronx Station, Critics Say." The New York Times. (August 24, 1999 , Tuesday, Late Edition - Final ): 1466 words. LexisNexis Academic. Web. Date Accessed: 2018/02/08.
"Waste Woes: Will Bronx Officials Vote For Env'tal Justice?." US Official News. (January 6, 2017 Friday ): 415 words. LexisNexis Academic. Web. Date Accessed: 2018/02/08.
Yardley, Jim. "NEIGHBORHOOD REPORT: EAST WILLIAMSBURG; Last-Ditch Effort to Block a Garbage Flow." The New York Times. (October 18, 1998 , Sunday, Late Edition - Final ): 426 words. LexisNexis Academic. Web. Date Accessed: 2018/02/08.