Parks’ recycling is out with the trash
Big Apple parks are anything but green.
A Post investigation found there’s little recycling going on in city green spaces, but the more shocking news is how waste collected in parks gets dumped.
Not only are routine recyclables like bottles, cans and paper being sent to landfills, but so is other waste that is supposed to be trashed separately, such as animal carcasses, medical waste and bins of used kitchen oil, according to some longtime parks employees responsible for garbage pickups.
One worker said supervisors routinely give orders like “make sure it all disappears,” meaning dump everything on garbage trucks, because it’s the fastest solution for cleaning parks.
“Not much gets recycled. We pick up everything — furniture, concrete, even dead animals,” said a worker whose route covers parts of Brooklyn parks.
The trash gets trucked to waste-transfer stations, where it is prepared for disposal at landfills.
When told of the whistleblowers’ comments, Parks Department spokeswoman Vickie Karp said workers are “misreading park policy,” adding the department is “committed to recycling.”
Central Park has an extensive recycling program that includes bottles, cans and scrap metal. There are smaller recycling programs in at least 18 other parks citywide — including Brooklyn’s Prospect Park and Manhattan’s Union Square — and the goal is to eventually expand to other parks, she said.
But Geoffrey Croft, of the watchdog group New York City Park Advocates, said the amount of parks recycling is “indefensible” considering there are 1,875 parks citywide and only a tiny fraction of them have recycling bins.
“This is a city where home and business owners are fined for not recycling, but the city agency responsible for the largest amount of land [14 percent of the city] — the Parks Department — is not required to,” Croft said. “And this is the city’s supposed ‘green’ agency.’ ”
By RICH CALDER
New York Post