New Yorkers produce so much waste (about 12,000 tons every day) that figuring out how to deal with all of it has been one of Mayor Bloomberg's major goals. The Mayor implemented several new recycling initiatives this year, but NYC-based architecture firm Terreform has a slightly different approach to how we can reuse some of this pesky rubbish. Called Rapid Re(F)use, the concept proposes a new form of construction that uses industrial robots to build structures and islands from trash in lieu of sending it to landfills.
Rapid Re(f)use is actually quite similar to the method developers used to build Battery Park City out of debris that was excavated when the World Trade Center was built. Instead of dirt and land, trash from landfills would be used to extend the city’s shoreline or erect buildings using automated robots that, themselves, would be modified from existing industrial waste compaction devices. The robots would be able to compress the trash into building block-like bricks.
So how much trash would be needed to create these new buildings and land? Terreform calculates that seven entirely new Manhattan islands could be made just from the trash that is currently available at area landfills. We think this idea is certainly worth looking into, but a lot has changed since 2010, when the project was first introduced, so new considerations (especially regarding storm surge protection) would have to be brought into account if it is to be viable.