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The Garbage Man Can
November 14, 2007 9:03 AM   Subscribe

The Garbage Game. What would you do with 64,000 tons of garbage every week? The Gotham Gazette is a not-for-profit newspaper that reports on New York City politics and policy. On their site is a highly informative game that puts you in the place of a resident and then the Sanitation Commissioner, shedding some light on NYC's garbage problem.
posted by brooklynexperiment (14 comments total)

 
eponyppropriate
posted by DU at 9:15 AM on November 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


Neat game, but I'm not really clear how my results stacked with current levels and ideals:

If the city adopted your approach to handling the the six types of waste we played with in the Garbage Game, here is how your waste management plan would stack up:

• Sanitation trucks will travel 267,072 miles within New York City
• Barges will venture 24,308 miles
• Trucks outside of the city will go 1,460 miles
• Rail will travel 0 miles
• Total miles: 292,840

Total cost: $258,032,619
Total volume: 1,897,871 tons
Total CO2 emissions: 248,871 pounds


For instance, can I use this result in my upcoming mayoral campaign?
posted by saladin at 9:17 AM on November 14, 2007


On the second question, why don't I have the option to not buy new towels?

New Yorkers throw away 158 tons of cell phones a year

158 tons. Of just cellphones. Sweet Jebus.

I had to quit after it got into the zoning intricacies of NY, though.
posted by DU at 9:21 AM on November 14, 2007


I'm not sure I'd call that a game.
posted by R. Mutt at 9:24 AM on November 14, 2007


Saladin and I had the exact same results.

Can I be the Deputy Mayor if you win?
posted by WinnipegDragon at 9:32 AM on November 14, 2007


simpsons clip
posted by brooklynexperiment at 9:39 AM on November 14, 2007


It's against the law in New York City to take anything that residents put out on the curbside; it's city property. It belongs to the Sanitation Department, Transit.

Hot Items for Thieves: Recyclables
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg signed into law a bill that greatly increased penalties for people who are caught using vehicles to steal metal, paper or other recyclable material that is left at a curb.

The excellent Garbage Scout.

The excellent FreeCycle.

A History of Waste Managment in New York City

Poisoning for Profit: The Mafia and Toxic Waste in America by Alan A. Block, Frank R. Scarpitti
posted by nickyskye at 9:39 AM on November 14, 2007


WinnipegDragon: Done.

I'm still looking to fill the positions of Fisheries Secretary and Minister of War, if anyone else with identical results is interested.
posted by saladin at 9:54 AM on November 14, 2007


I agree with Saladin. I would like to compare my "score" with the actual values in the real world.
posted by wittgenstein at 10:25 AM on November 14, 2007


It's against the law in New York City to take anything that residents put out on the curbside; it's city property.

Someone please tell the guy who opens every bag on our block and leaves crap strewn on the sidewalk the night before recycling pickup.
posted by brain_drain at 10:26 AM on November 14, 2007


I hate mechanized sharply defined parametered games. No lateral thinking allowed.
What would I do with 64,000 tons of garbage every week?
Mail it.
It’s not MY problem, it’s the post office’s problem.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:32 AM on November 14, 2007


people who are caught using vehicles to steal metal

The guys I see in Brooklyn, disassemble things like air conditioners for the metal, which they then take - in a shopping cart - to the scrap metal yard. Of course, they leave all the parts they can't sell by the side of the road. Does a shopping cart count as a vehicle?
posted by R. Mutt at 11:24 AM on November 14, 2007


DU: On the second question, why don't I have the option to not buy new towels?

This is a key point.. They spend all this time telling people to donate old things, but the serious conservation comes from using old things - either buying from the used goods stores, or just not replacing the item when what you have is still serviceable. The idea of donations is brought up all the time, but people are rarely encouraged to go and buy used..


Does a shopping cart count as a vehicle?

How about a bicycle (w trailer?)?
posted by Chuckles at 1:31 PM on November 14, 2007


This is actually something that's really interesting to me. In Beijing, as you probably know if you've been here, junk collection is a booming industry. It's also a hobby. The cognitive dissonance of seeing pensioners digging through the trash and loading up their rickshaws with towers of plastic and styrofoam, even though they probably own a house and a car, is a little odd. There are more than a few little old ladies in my apartment complex who get off on this. City governments here generally take the opposite approach that New York and most American cities take to the waste management problem. Recycling is private. Trash is a public good, anybody's welcome to go through there and pick stuff out, until the garbage trucks come by. There are local recycling stations all over the city, and though I haven't seen any particular numbers, I'm assuming the percentage of garbage recycled here is much higher here than in the States. Hell, they're even pulling used condoms out of the trash to make hair ties (there was an AIDS scare about that about a year and a half ago; the health expert the People's Daily quoted was coincidentally named Dong). Electronics? You'd be stupid to throw those away. An old cell phone gets you a week's worth of food, or a month of electricity, because contract phones are unheard of. There's somebody out there who'll buy it, fix it, and sell it for a profit to somebody else.

The coolest part is that they have guys who will buy your garbage. They'll come to your house and take away anything recyclable. Junk collection used to be a free-for-all, and it's only a couple months ago that they got legislation through the Congress to license and tax them. Theft isn't the problem, most people are fiercely protective of their garbage, I'd just say it's the tax revenue they want. I've often wondered, and I'm sure I'm not the only one, if something like this is possible for the US.
posted by saysthis at 8:59 PM on November 14, 2007


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