New York City mayor signs long-term recycling contract

The debate over whether recycling is economically “worth it” continues, but one famously tight-fisted municipal leader has made up his mind. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (R) announced that the city will sign a 20-year contract with one of the nation’s largest recycling companies, Hugo Neu Corp., which will build a $45 million plant on the Brooklyn waterfront to recycle all the city’s metal, glass, and plastic. The contract marks the end of NYC’s struggle with the issue. Two years ago, Bloomberg decided that recycling was an economic drain and largely abandoned it, but with landfill and transportation costs rising, he has changed his mind. The key is long-term contracts, which encourage recycling companies to invest more in the latest technology, and local siting of the facilities, to avoid shipping waste over long distances. The city’s decision is expected to have widespread influence. “Much like market analysts watch the Federal Reserve in order to assess monetary issues, many people look to New York City when it comes to municipal policies,” said market researcher James Thompson Jr.