Tony the Tour Guy's Blog

A not very regular series of posts on New York City history, historic preservation, genealogy and related themes.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

George Waring, Jr - Recycling Pioneer

If you think that this town is dirty, you should be glad you didn't live here in the 19th Century, before the time when the famous George Waring, Jr reformed what was then called the Street Cleaning Department. Before then ashes, household trash and dead animals were routinely dumped onto public thoroughfares, which were irregularly cleaned by a hodgepodge of governmental and private concerns.

Waring took office in 1895 and promptly instituted military-style discipline and uniforms for his cleaning staff, suspended ocean dumping and beginning what would nowadays be considered an aggressive recycling program. Organic solid wastes were processed into grease and fertilizer by a privately-operated plant, while scavengers reclaimed old bottles, rags and metals under permits from the City. Tons of street sweepings and ashes were used as landfill. Indeed, most of what is now Rikers Island was created this way.


At 10:32 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

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