Sitting at home staring at the menu screen of your Matrix Revolutions DVD and ordering another chimichanga isn't just hurting your sex life, it's hurting the environment. The Times takes aim at the take out containers that comprise some of the city's 14 million tons of waste each year, and finds New Yorkers torn between convenience and guilt. "There's nothing I can do," a 25-year-old accountant tells the paper while eating from one of those ubiquitious plastic containers. "It annoys me. It's plastic in a landfill." But not as annoying as packing your lunch in a reusable container.
Despite ranking third in a recent research project on "green cities," New York continues to lag behind other cities in recycling. The law passed year to bring the city back into the 21st century and recycle more plastics is toothless without the resources needed to build facilities and change the perception of residents that not all refuse belongs in the trash can.
And because it's more expensive to recycle than just throw everything into a landfill (or pay other states to do that) don't look for Mayor Bloomberg to make it a major issue. "The mayor recognizes that a sustainable New York City means that we need to come up with ways to deal with waste," Bloomberg's spokesman said. "We could do better."
New York only has 500 recycling bins out on the street to counter the 25,000 trash cans, whereas Seattle has 351 to their 682 waste bins. In San Francisco, recycling is mandatory and the city charges residents based on how much trash they put out on the curb. But then again, San Francisco is a rogue state controlled by communist hills.
We can empathize with a visitor who told the paper that she walked 15 blocks carrying a plastic bottle looking for a trash can. "I was just surprised how many places don't have them," she said. However, New York does support an ecosystem of people who remove that plastic from the trash bin: we call them entreprenuers.