The grassroots recycling initiative just launched a few weeks ago, but it has been gaining traction as more Brownsville residents are getting on board.

The Brownsville Houses have the borough’s first door-to-door recycling collection system in place thanks to the nonprofit group Mothers on the Move (MOM).

Each week teams from Green City Force, an AmeriCorps program that prepares young New Yorkers for careers in the clean energy economy, join MOM to go door-to-door to collect the residents’ recycling. The project launched with an educational outreach campaign and signup drive by environmental nonprofit GrowNYC. MOM’s recycling coordinator Brigette Vicenty says the unprecedented grassroots initiative has been gaining traction with the residents since it was launched a few weeks ago.

“As they’ve seen what this all means, how it looks and the convenience of it, the residents are really coming on board by the droves,” says Vicenty. “That’s promising because if we prove to be successful we can expand it. NYCHA wants to expand it, the Department of Sanitation wants to expand it throughout the boroughs.”

Brigette Vicenty is the recycling coordinator for Mothers on the Move

Mothers on the Move, a South Bronx-based non-profit organization that addresses economic, social and environmental injustices, received $20,000 from the City to start the project the project in Brownsville after winning the NYCx Co-Lab Challenge: Zero Waste in a Shared Space. The challenge was run by the New York City Housing Authority, the Mayor’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer, the NYC Department of Sanitation, and the New York City Economic Development Corporation in collaboration with the Brownsville community to find solutions to the neighborhood’s needs.

Borough President Eric Adams thinks MOM’s recycling project was exactly the kind of grassroots solution the city should be expanding to improve quality of life, enhance the public realm, and create a greener and more sustainable borough for all.

If all goes well, MOM plans to go from development to development to increase the city’s recycling to 50 percent and to eliminating landfill waste by 2030.


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Anna Bradley-Smith

Anna Bradley-Smith is Brooklyn-based reporter with bylines in NBC, VICE, Slate and others. Follow her on Twitter @annabradsmith.

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