New York City makes a lot of waste — 3 million tons to be exact — and it costs the city $300 million to export it away from our lovely city streets. Mayor Michael Bloomberg is on a roll trying to divert that waste from the landfill and has now put out a request for proposal (RFP) for a waste management facility that can turn NYC’s solid refuse into energy. The city won’t help build the facility, but it promises to pay a per-ton fee for all of the refuse that it sends there once it is created. With NYC’s waste currently creating 728,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year, building a low-emissions conversion facility is a great way to lower the city’s greenhouse gasses while putting to use all the things that residents throw in the garbage can.

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“We are using the most comprehensive sustainability program in the nation to green our city, but we have to go further,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “New Yorkers generate more than 10,000 tons of solid waste every day and too much of it ends up in landfills. Using less, and recycling more are the most effective ways to address the problem, but this project will help us determine if some of that waste can be converted to safe, clean energy to meet the City’s growing power needs.” Bloomberg announced that the proposed facility must be built within an 80 mile radius of New York City and will have to undergo reviews from the City Environmental Quality Review, State Environmental Quality Review and the State Department of Environmental Conservation to ensure environmental safety of the construction and conversion process.

“There are technologies that have proven to be a success in countries around the world, and right here in New York City, we’re already converting sewage to clean energy that powers the treatment process,” said Deputy Mayor for Operations Cas Holloway. “Converting solid waste to clean energy is the next logical step. Any proposal will have to pass rigorous environmental and community scrutiny to move forward, and we hope that as many viable proposals as possible are submitted for consideration.”

The waste conversion facility is part of Mayor Bloomberg’s PlaNYC effort to reduce the city’s greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent and become the city with the cleanest air in America by 2030. The initial facility will be built to process 450 tons per day, and if successful, will be expanded after a pilot program to 900 tons per day — which will amount for almost 1/10th of the city’s daily waste. RFP’s are due June 5th, 2012.

+ Mayor Bloomberg’s RFP

Via New York Times

Photos by D Norman, Emily Rides and My Sh***y Phone on Flickr