The city, facing a waste disposal crisis, will begin recycling millions of tons of garbage under a bill approved Tuesday by the City Council that makes recycling mandatory for all residents.
The measure mandates that residents of all five boroughs separate trash into three categories: regular garbage, paper products and glass bottles and cans. Regular garbage would continue going to landfills and incinerators, but recyclable items would be reprocessed at special centers.
The bill is expected to be signed by Mayor Edward I. Koch and take effect as early as July. It “will change the lives of all New Yorkers,” Koch said.
The vote followed hours of debate over the types of items to be recycled. Many council members said the bill is too limited to deal with the garbage crisis.
“I believe the bill is a license to incinerate,” said Brooklyn Councilman Abraham Gerges, who co-sponsored the legislation but voted against the bill because of objections to its limits.
The measure, to be phased in over five years, provides for recycling 25% of the 8 million tons of garbage that the city disposes of each year in landfills and incinerators.