1. Amend city code to (a) reflect source separation goals, and (b) implement volume-based user fees for non-compostable, non-recyclable solid waste
  2. Implement a broad based public education campaign on Municipal Solid Waste and increase enforcement of existing code.
  3. Hire a Recycling and Composting Coordinator to oversee and expand education, enforcement, and staying abreast of fluctuations in materials market and lists of recyclable materials, with a salary to be paid by DEC and the savings from waste diversion.
  4. Build a facility in or near Troy and/or contract with local farms, facilities, and businesses for end-use processing of commercial and institutional-scale organic material.
  5. Create a system to support neighborhood-scale and backyard composting by (a) transferring ownership of strategic, city-owned vacant lots to neighborhood associations and community-based organizations for neighborhood-scale, self-managed composting, (b) encouraging collection at the TWFM and participating CDCG sites, (c) partnering with local organizations that run collection and composting projects, and (d) providing resources for backyard and kitchen composting, such as educational materials and compost bins.
  6. Pursue funding opportunities to defray implementation costs for the new program.
  7. Phase in city-wide collection of organic resources by (a) studying and promoting a pilot project at RPI, (b) consider permitting only private/commercial waste haulers that have viable, separate, organic waste stream options, and (c) implementing a curbside organics collection pilot program.

In order to implement these changes, the CWG-C recommends that the City of Troy re-institute the Environmental Conservation Commission[1] and task them with moving forward these solid waste initiatives. It may also be helpful, in the development of the more specific policies and practices around recycling, for the Mayor to appoint and task the Citizens Advisory Board on Recycling[2] with guiding implementation.

Recognizing furthermore that increasing diversion will require changes in the daily routines of Troy's citizens, the CWG-C recommends a period of citizen deliberation and feedback before implementing this proposal. Such a process should (a) explain the purposes of the legislative and institutional changes required to encourage composting and recycling and (b) solicit feedback from residents that might help inform the proposal in order to increase compliance with new collection policies.

The CWG-C recommends that this deliberation and feedback take place in a three-stage process. In the first stage, an open meeting could allow the CWG-C to present the current plan to members of City Council, community representatives (from neighborhood committees and community organizations), and DPW-Sanitation staff working in Troy, respond to questions, justify recommendations, and solicit feedback. In the second stage, the groups tasked with implementation could respond to citizen feedback and incorporate it into further recommendations, while neighborhood associations deliberate through meetings and message boards, and use of the wikispaces living document. This stage may take anywhere from one week to one month. In the third stage, stakeholders would reconvene in another town meeting setting: the revised proposal should then be presented and the neighborhood associations would offer additional feedback based on their intervening discussions.

This method is based on the constructive technology assessment (CTA) that has been conducted in the Netherlands since the 1980s[3], which seeks to incorporate citizen input as early as possible in the development of new technologies and systems. In these models, citizens and experts meet to discuss the possible influences of new technologies and the intentions of designers, policy-makers and citizens in implementing these changes. This feedback process recognizes that the citizens of Troy understand their own behavior and that of their neighborhoods in ways that the CWG-C might not.

As the CWG-C proposes changes that influence policy, city planning, and citizen behavior, it will be essential to include citizens and DPW-Sanitation staff in the assessment of this plan.


[1] Environmental Conservation Commission, City of Troy, NY Code (1973), Chapter 39. http://www.ecode360.com/11130017 (accessed January 12, 2013).
[2] Citizens Advisory Board, City of Troy, NY Code (2007), § 234-8. http://www.ecode360.com/11130017 (accessed January 12, 2013).
[3] Schot, J., & Rip, A, “The past and future of constructive technology assessment,” Technological Forecasting and Social Change 54, no. 2-3 (1997): 251, accessed January 12, 2013, http://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0040162596001801.