New York City produces over 14 million tons of trash every year. A plan to build artificial composting islands off the coast has been proposed to reduce the city’s waste management issues.
Each year, New York City spends more than $300 million dollars transporting trash to out-of-state landfills, resulting in high levels of traffic, noise pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, once waste goes to landfill sites, it rots and produces more greenhouse gases.
The Green Loop project, designed by Present Architecture, proposes an alternative solution to the current waste management system. Present Architecture is looking to create a composting hub and park as part of a larger plan for a network of 10 composting hubs in New York City’s waterfront.
The project features a composting facility located at street level and a public park situated above it which included educational facilities and neighborhood gardens, as well as a cross-country skiing track in the winter.
The objective is to create a green network of composting parks processing organic waste, which comprises 30 per cent of the residential waste stream, while adding a large public green area along the city’s waterfront. Taking advantage of the existing transportation infrastructure, trucks could deliver waste a short distance to a borough composting hub, with barges and rail transporting composted product away.
In addition to its waste problem, New York needs more open space. As part of its Vision 2020: Comprehensive Waterfront Plan, it is gradually improving public access and developing the waterfront area with parks, esplanades and bike/pedestrian lanes.
“New York City has less open space per person than almost every major city in the country, and the Green Loop alleviates two major urban problems at once,” Present Architecture explained.
The proposal will drastically reduce the distance trucks have to travel to carry waste to landfill sites, decreasing traffic, noise, air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. It will provide the added benefit of creating a new type of public park and a potential product for market, such as nutrient rich compost made in New York.
"New York City is already piloting a curbside composting program, so composting will soon be a reality. The Green Loop will take this reality many steps into the future for a better New York City for everyone,” the architects said.
The Green Loop is not the first urban project intending to turn trash into something valuable. Last year, a team of New York architects designed [CONTAINED], a project that proposed a ring of shipping containers full of trash positioned to protect Manhattan’s shores from future flooding.
The project, which was created for the ONE Prize competition, disposes of the city’s waste while protecting New York from storms and flood, and included a floating small city on top.
The proposal included the digging of a deep canal trench around Manhattan’s shoreline which would be lined with shipping containers, filled with non-toxic, unrecyclable garbage. The containers would act as a floodgate, holding storm surges back from reaching the shore during storms and floods.
In addition, the floodgates were used to create a new shoreline for locals and visitors, including offices, commercial centres and residences located on top of the layer of shipping containers, creating an off-shore floating city.