In this week's Newsletter: What we learned from the NYC Zero Waste Challenge, what it might be like when there are 9 million NYers, clean coal's dirty secrets and much more!
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Post-Challenge, Can NYC Get to Zero Waste by 2030?

NYC's Zero Waste Challenge ended this week, and the results were pretty impressive: 31 large corporations with offices in the city collectively diverted 36,910 tons of waste from landfills in about four months (February to mid-June). Twelve companies, included the national Resources Defense Council and Viacom, reduced their waste by 90%, and two managed to reduce waste by an incredible 95%. Congratulations, Durst Organization and D'Arrigo Bros. of New York!

The mayor's OneNYC sustainability plan calls for the city to send zero waste to landfills by 2030.

But despite its success, the challenge has also raised doubts that the zero waste goal can be achieved. On Sunday, the day before the Challenge results were released, Crain's New York Business published a report criticizing the mayor's plan and citing low recycling rates, high costs and complex waste management regulations as impediments to the zero waste goal. 

The Zero Waste Challenge results show that large corporations with deep pockets can make significant, if not total, reductions in waste. As for the rest of us? Let's see if recycling rates continue to rise overall across the city.

You can read more about this on here.

Will New York City Become Unbearable If Population Rises to 9 Million?

New York City is full of people- almost 8.5 million of us live here, and another 58 million visitors every year. Real estate prices continue to rise into the stratosphere, and everywhere you look there are cranes and steel girders and plywood walls around development sites. How many people in NYC is too many?

According to this article from, it's not as bad as it can seem during a rush hour subway ride. There are many neighborhoods that have still never recovered from the suburban exodus of the 1970s, and could be ripe for redevelopment...but many of those areas are not well served by public transportation. Even uber-hip, international brand Brooklyn has fewer residents than in 1950.

At the same time, the new influx of young residents from other parts of the US is altering predictions for the future. while on the one hand driving rampant hypergentrification across the city, new millennial New Yorkers also help drive employment in new sectors like tech, and while they pay taxes just like everyone else, they consume fewer services like schools, day care facilities and hospital care- things they are mostly too young to need themselves.

And whether those of us who have lived here for years like it or not, NYC is magnetic and there isn't really any way to stop it from growing. The best we can hope for is guided growth that hopefully makes the right predictions for the future. Now where's my crystal ball?

Dirty Secrets of Clean Coal

Sometimes you try and new technology and it just doesn't quite measure up to expectations.

Last week, the NY Times published this story about the Kemper County power plant in De Kalb, Mississippi. The plant, which is supposed to demonstrate the efficacy of clean coal technology, has been plagued with problems including cost overruns, and despite the project being two years behind schedule, the plant has yet to produce a single kilowatt hour of power.

You can read all the gory details by clicking the link above, but here's perhaps the saddest part of the whole story:

"Kemper’s rising price tag and other problems will probably affect the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rules on new power plants, and also play into broader discussions about the best way to counter climate change. E.P.A. regulations in effect require new coal plants to have carbon capture technology but are being held up in federal court partly by arguments that the technology is not cost-effective."

Upcoming Events at Solar 1

Community Volunteer Day in Stuyvesant Cove Park
Stuyvesant Cove Park, 23rd Street & the East River, 10am-1pm, free
Supported by the Stuyvesant Cove Park Association. All ages, pizza lunch provided.

CookoutNYC Presents Running with the Beef
Solar 1/Stuyvesant Cove Park, 23rd Street & the East River, 4-9pm, $45+

Stuyvesant Cove Park Association Presents Rock
Solar 1/Stuyvesant Cove Park, 23rd Street & the East River, 6:30pm, free

Rooftop Films & LOFT Present the LOL Movie Series: Pitch Perfect
Solar 1/Stuyvesant Cove Park, 23rd Street & the East River, doors at 7:45pm/film at 9, free with RSVP to Rooftop Films (first come, first served- RSVP does not guarantee admission)

Stuyvesant Cove Park Association Presents Paul Sachs
Solar 1/Stuyvesant Cove Park, 23rd Street & the East River, 6:30pm, free

Other Events

Waterfront Alliance's City of Water Day
Various locations, all day, free

Flushing Creek Bike Tour
Union Turnpike-Kew Gardens Station, Queens Blvd and Union Turnpike, Queens, 10am-12pm, $20

Designing the World's First Underground Park
Grohe, 160 Fifth Avenue, entrance on West 21st St, Manhattan, 6-8pm, $15

350NYC Divestment Working Group
New York Society for Ethical Culture, Room 508, 2 West 64th Street at Central Park West, Manhattan, 7-9pm, free
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