New York Municipal Solid Waste
Jessica Beard, Brant Bennett, Jason Black, Adam Bymaster, Alex Ibanez
Capstone Design Project- University of Oklahoma - Spring 2003
In 2001, the United States generated 208.4 million tons of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW), or 5
pounds per person per day.
By weight, 15% is burnt, 30 % is recycled and 55 % is put into
Municipal solid waste consists of product packaging, grass clippings, furniture,
clothing, bottles, food scraps, newspapers, appliances and batteries.
Materials such as
construction demolition debris, municipal liquid waste (MLW) treatment sludges and non-
hazardous industrial wastes are not considered MSW.
Institutional wastes, such as waste
products from prisons, hospitals, and schools are considered MSW.
Several cities facing disposal problems were considered for a new disposal method of municipal
The decision was made based on:
current disposal costs, trends in disposal costs,
trends in waste production, population growth and the severity of the problem with current
method of disposal.
The four locations analyzed were New York City, New York; Los Angeles,
California; Detroit, Michigan; and Hilo, Hawaii.
Although each location has significant
problems processing municipal solid waste, New York City was selected based on the
It produces the largest amount of MSW per day, pays a high cost to
dispose of its MSW, and it maintains a large population growth.
MSW in New York City
Everyday New York City and its surrounding area generate approximately 47,303 tons of waste.
The New York Department of Sanitation (DOS) manages 40% of this waste, and private
corporations handle the other 60%.
In the year 2000, 35% of the amount that the DOS managed
was recycled, 34% was deposited at the Fresh Kills Landfill, and 31% was exported out of the
However, the Fresh Kills Landfill closed in April of 2001.
On average, New York City
pays an average $63.30 per ton to landfill their municipal solid waste
Present Methods of Disposal
In New York City, approximately 10,500 tons of MSW need processing daily
mentioned, the amount not recycled is transported out of the city to several neighboring landfills.
However, landfilling is a decreasing option for several reasons.
In a high density area such as
New York City, health problems stemming from landfill contamination have prompted the
passage of state laws that prevent landfilling in the municipal area
The laws have long since
placed a constraint on MSW disposal in the vicinity of New York City, particularly the state of