Mayor Bloomberg looks to make a greener Big Apple

New York City produces 10,000 tons of trash every day, and only recycles an “anemic” 15 percent of it.

New York City produces 10,000 tons of trash every day, and as Eddie Bautista explained to The New York Times, the city only recycles an "anemic" 15 percent of it. Because of that, the Big Apple has very high pollution emission levels.

Earlier in the month, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that New York City is looking into using a facility that could recycle 450 tons of trash each day, taking a significant chunk out of the total waste the city produces and turning it into a clean energy source.

Bloomberg made the Request for Proposals announcement during his State of the City speech as part of his initiative called PlaNYC, with which he intends to cut the amount of waste the city sends to landfills in half with increased efforts to reuse, recycle and compost trash.

The facility would be privately owned, and would not require any capital funding from New York City, though it will pay a per ton fee to the facility operator. Bloomberg said that it would need to be within 80 miles of the city and capable of processing a maximum of 450 tons of trash daily. He specifically called for a facility that used innovative waste-to-energy technology and explicitly excluded incineration as an option.

"There are technologies that have proven to be a success in countries around the world, and right here in New York City, we're already converting sewage to clean energy that powers the treatment process," Deputy Mayor for Operations Cas Holloway said in a statement. "Converting solid waste to clean energy is the next logical step. Any proposal will have to pass rigorous environmental and community scrutiny to move forward, and we hope that as many viable proposals as possible are submitted for consideration."

Any private sector that's interested in building and operating the facility must apply before June 5, 2012. City officials have said that if this initial facility is successful, the process will be expanded to handle twice as much trash each day.

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