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    Salvage and Sanitation: Unearthing the Future of Garbage in New York

    New York, 2002.
    Since the Fresh Kills landfill closed two years ago, the city's been sending 13,000 tons of municipal garbage its citizens produce daily to landfills in Ohio, Virginia, and Pennsylvania by truck Municipal garbage doesn't account for the 13, 000 tons trash hauled away from hotels, restaurants and other private establishments daily. Treating garbage is an expensive problem: In 2001 alone, as the city budget shortfall loomed, the DOT budget hit one billion dollars. The diesel emissions from city garbage trucks are linked to an urban asthma epidemic. Yet the city's trash reduction plans have so far been equally expensive and dysfunctional. As cities like San Francisco move towards zero waste, New York's garbage budget—20 percent of the city's fiscal revenue, continues to grow.

    Yet what is the future of garbage in New York? Where should it go, and why is there so much of it in the first place?

    In search of answers, I'll write a series of articles that examine trash practices and collection from a variety of angles: I'll talk to sanitation officers, environmental justice activists, and representatives of Waste Management, Inc, one of the firms bidding on the city's multimillion-dollar municipal garbage contract, to find out how trash is processed, and where it ends up.

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