The City of New York aims to be zero waste by 2030 and thereby minimise the environmental impact of the city’s waste. Overall, New York aims to reduce its CO2 emissions by 80 percent by 2050. The DonateNYC Partnership contributes to this aim. Overseen by the New York City’s Department of Sanitation, the DonateNYC Partnership is a network of non-profit organizations in New York City that accept and distribute second-hand and surplus goods. The aim of the partnership is to expand and promote New York City’s local reuse community through strategic collaborations and projects. By accepting unwanted yet usable goods, DonateNYC Partners divert close to 100 million pounds of material from landfills every year and serve over 1 million New Yorkers annually through reuse-funded social service programs such as family support, housing, healthcare, professional development, and feeding initiative.
Logistics of transportation and storage is a major issue in any large urban centre, so also in New York City. To reach the goal of a zero waste New York City by 2030 it is necessary to accelerate the recycling and repurposing of waste by making it easy and finding incentives for companies and organisations to consider waste a valuable resource.
Good practices and solutions
The DonateNYC Partnership provides an online platform and mobile app where members of the partnership are able to list and exchange their available waste resources, items and materials with other members. To participate in the partnership, one has to register as a donor or recipient. For example, a clothing store could register as a donor of used clothes to the partnership, while a non-governmental organization register as needing used clothes to distribute to people in need. Through the platform, these two are connected, the clothing is reused by the NGO and the circle is closed. A newly developed section of the platform is developed to target food waste in New York City. In a similar manner, groups with available food post a donation listing, specifying the type and amount of food, its packaging and delivery requirements, as well as a pickup/delivery time. An algorithm then matches the donations to possible recipients, first by their required criteria (food type, quantity, storage requirements) and then by distance, starting with the closest organization first. Recipients are notified when a donation matches their criteria, and they have a limited amount of time to accept before the algorithm matches a second possible recipient.
Outcomes & Opportunities
One of the main goals of the DonateNYC Partnership program is to quantify reuse in New York City to understand the environmental impacts that reuse has on the local community. In order to accomplish this task, DonateNYC collaborates with the NYC Centre for Materials Reuse on Partner data collection and analysis. Organizations engaged in materials reuse may have limited time, staff, or means to track and analyse data about their reuse activities. This data, if collected accurately, can be used internally to understand and improve operations, and externally to demonstrate and promote the economic-, environmental-, and social benefits of reuse organizations. To accurately analyse and generate reports on Partner reuse data, DonateNYC has developed the Reuse Impact Calculator (RIC), a first-of-its-kind system that uses qualitative and quantitative data to analytically describe the environmental impact of the reuse sector in New York City.
Related SDG targets
- 8.4 Improve progressively, through 2030, global resource efficiency in consumption and production and endeavour to decouple economic growth from environmental degradation, in accordance with the 10‑Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production, with developed countries taking the lead.
- 12. 8 By 2030, ensure that people everywhere have the relevant information and awareness for sustainable development and lifestyles in harmony with nature.
- 17.17 Encourage and promote effective public, public-private and civil society partnerships, building on the experience and resourcing strategies of partnerships.
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