The MTA: What Are You Going to Do, Walk?

The MTA’s new recycling stickers are just a reminder that the agency has been doing a lot of green things correctly for quite some time.

The MTA, the people who brought you “The Next Brooklyn-bound L Train Will Arrive in Two Minutes” announcements only a decade or two after such systems became standard in the Old Country are not letting the Euros beat us in recycling, either.

From Paris to Shanghai, most major transit systems in the past 10 years have installed separate bins for paper, glass, plastic, and even organic vs. non-organic waste.

A few weeks ago, large stickers appeared on every single one of the black bomb-resistant garbage cans lining the platforms. “Can it for a Greener Planet!” they read. Could it be?

Apparently the stickers, the number or printing cost of which the MTA did not disclose, were a public service reminder – that they already recycle.

“We’ve been recycling subway refuse since 1996 as a public service to [riders] and the environment, and divert over 7,000 tons a year from landfills – 50,000 tons since we began in 1996,” explained an MTA spokesperson in an email. “In 2007, 17,862 tons of subway trash was collected and 8,930 tons were recycled, thus diverted from local landfills. Through an aggressive post-collection recycling program, New York City Transit recycles about 50% of everything our customers throw away.”

These “WE ARE ALREADY GREEN!” stickers, were they maybe printed on recycled paper? No. Vinyl. For toughness. I was too scared to ask what went into the making of the special green pigment on the Earth Day cards.

The Next Brooklyn-bound L Train Will Arrive in Six Minutes. Wait, what’s the point of this thing, didn’t it just say two minutes?! It did. But that’s not what’s backward.

What is backward is that the MTA is implementing a ton of green initiatives that it could boast about.

A special commission was set up last fall to look at reducing the authority’s carbon footprint. In April, it came out with several commitments, including:

  • by 2015, obtaining 7 % of its power needs from renewable sources
  • collaborating with the Long Island Power Authority on “the largest solar power project” in New York history, generating 6megawatts of solar energy at MTA facilities
  • powering (parts of) the Roosevelt Island Subway Station with the East River’s tidal energy
  • obtaining 14 % of power for its Far Rockaway Bus Depot from wind turbines
  • installing vegetated green roofs on existing facilities

More like this. Less like the L train and the stickers, please.

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One Response to The MTA: What Are You Going to Do, Walk?

  1. Trula Friday, May 9, 2008 at 6:12 am #

    That is hilarious, especially the vinyl paper.