Trash: Where it Goes, How it Gets There and What the City is Doing to Recycle It

Trash: Where it Goes, How it Gets There and What the City is Doing to Recycle It

May 07, 2012 at 10:01 am

The sleek, glassy Bank of America Tower is one of New York City’s tallest buildings, one of its most energy-efficient structures and perhaps the country’s most ecologically friendly skyscraper.

It is also on the cutting edge on a less glamorous front: getting rid of its trash.

The Durst Organization, the powerful real estate company and the developer of the Bank of America Tower, is doing all it can to minimize the building’s waste and keep it out of landfills.

It all starts with the office workers. At Durst’s headquarters on the building’s 49th floor, the trash bins next to each desk are only for paper. None of the receptacles have plastic liners, a reminder to keep out any food or liquids.

Pizza crusts, apple cores and half-eaten bagels have to be carried to a break room, where employees deposit them in wooden compost buckets. Empty water bottles, soda cans and glass go into a separate can. Any remaining garbage is dumped into yet another can.

Lisa Cintron, a Durst quality-control manager, said it was an adjustment to take her trash to the break room instead of throwing everything away right at her desk.

“Since you get up and you’re already there, you say, ‘Well, I might as well do the right thing and throw it in the right place,’ ” she said. “It was definitely inconvenient for people and hard to adjust initially, just the thought, but it really didn’t take much to adjust.”

The on-site sorting, done on all but a couple of floors at the Bank of America Tower and at a number of other Durst buildings, is just the start of the journey for each piece of trash.

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