By Cole Rosengren

Once New Yorkers put their garbage on the curb, they pay little attention to where it goes. The Department of Sanitation (DSNY) is still in the process of implementing former Mayor Bloomberg’s 2006 Solid Waste Management Plan by building new transfer stations. City Council is also considering a bill, Intro-495, that would change how much garbage goes through certain neighborhoods. These two plans have inspired particular outrage and misinformation among different communities that don’t want any garbage facilities in their backyard.

Using information from NYC Open Data, I plan to map out exactly where each community district’s garbage and recyclable materials go within the city for processing. A select few areas – the South Bronx, northern Brooklyn and southeast Queens – bear the brunt of it all. I’ll also highlight the sites of new DSNY facilities that are either being built or are planned to be built in some kind of second screen to show how they will change the pattern.

From there, I plan to map out where everything goes once it leaves the city. Data is available for New York and New Jersey landfills and waste-to-energy plants. I’m still working on data for the other states where we send our garbage – Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Ohio, etc. Even if I can’t find exact landfill locations I can still highlight that our garbage is heading in their direction.


Gavin Kearney
Director of Environmental Justice, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest

Benjamin Miller
Former policy director for DSNY, partner at Closed Loops consulting

Antonio Reynoso
Chair of City Council Committee on Sanitation & Solid Waste Management
Press Contact: Lacey Tauber

Kathy Dawkins
DSNY public affairs