In a report for Insider, video producer Abby Narishkin explains exactly how the 3.2 million tons of trash generated by New York City is processed. The video starts off with trash workers who collect and box the trash in giant receptacles. The boxes of trash are then loaded onto barges and carried down the East River to Staten Island where much of it is burned and turned to usable energy. The garbage that isn’t burned is then taken to landfills in other states, as the last landfill in New York was closed in 2001.
New York City is one of the most wasteful cities in the world. But none of its trash is actually processed in NYC. It’s sent to waste-to-energy facilities and landfills as far away as Ohio and South Carolina. It takes a vast network of sanitation workers, trucks, trains, cranes, and barges — and $429 million a year — to get it there.