Photo: Eric Cheng
The South Bronx is known for many things - its role in hip hop history, being the home of the Yankees and notable natives like Al Pacino, Colin Powell and Jennifer Lopez - but unfortunately, recycling is not one of them. According to city surveys, the South Bronx has the lowest recycling rate in all of NYC, but musician will.i.am and Coca Cola are hoping to change that through their joint venture, EKOCYCLE. This morning, EKOCYCLE announced their $200,000 grant to Sustainable South Bronx to create a new pilot program to help make it easier for area residents to get into the habit of recycling.
Recycling may seem like second nature for some New Yorkers, but for many, it’s a confusing and inconvenient process. “Residents of the South Bronx who live in large apartment buildings face numerous obstacles that make it difficult to recycle on a regular basis,” said Michael Brotchner, Executive Director of Sustainable South Bronx. “This donation from EKOCYCLE to Sustainable South Bronx will help us kick-start recycling in a set of buildings that is representative of buildings throughout the community. We think that the residents of Highbridge will be very excited to participate in this pilot project, which aims to produce concrete findings on how recycling can best be promoted in the South Bronx.”
This morning, will.i.am and Coke’s Chief Sustainability Bea Perez visited the group of buildings with the aim of turning things around. With the help of Sustainable South Bronx, the pair led a tour of the buildings and the areas they hoped to retrofit, making it much more convenient for occupants to separate their garbage. The tour concluded with a special performance by the Highbridge Voices, a talented youth choir that will benefit greatly once the unpleasant trash compactor adjacent to their rehearsal space is upgraded using part of the grant.
“New York City is one of the greatest cities in the world, and can become an even better place to live by making it easier for residents to recycle,” said will.i.am. “By teaming up with Sustainable South Bronx and Highbridge area residents, EKOCYCLE’s mission is to help kick off this pilot recycling program and encourage residents to do their part to contribute to a more sustainable city.”
Sustainable South Bronx plans to launch the recycling pilot program on May 20. We wish them the best of luck and stay tuned to see their progress.