Sally Goldenberg and Danielle Muoio of Politico New York visit Don’t Bury the Lede, Alex Lynn’s interactive art installation about the history of New York City journalism (come see it for yourself!), to talk through Wasted Potential, their epic deep dive into New York’s recycling program and why it’s fallen so short so far of Mayor de Blasio’s ambitious goals.
Here’s the opening:
RENSSELAER, N.Y. — Dozens of diesel-engine trucks belching exhaust travel 150 miles north of New York City, hauling tons of construction debris as they roll past clapboard houses toward a sprawling landfill that towers over this 3.3-square-mile city. On the other side of the dump on a chilly November morning, a few hundred yards from the stench of rotten eggs, children begin filing into the local school complex.
This scene is the consequence of New York City’s failure to contain its trash.
Two consecutive mayors of the city launched their presidential bids last year on a promise of combating climate change, yet neither was able to stem the tide of garbage flooding the nation’s largest metropolis and contributing to greenhouse gas emissions. Bill de Blasio, the current mayor whose national campaign lasted four months, and Mike Bloomberg, his predecessor who began his White House bid in November, both fell short of ambitious recycling and waste reduction goals that other major American cities have realized.
And for nearly two decades, New York City has entirely outsourced its trash burden to other communities across the country.
And here’s the whole series: