Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that a pilot scheme providing street corner recycling bins would be expanded to 33 new locations across the city’s five boroughs.

The new bins will be on existing rubbish collection routes, meaning that the only cost to city taxpayers will be to buy the new bins.

Mayor Bloomberg emphasised that the worsening economic situation did not mean the city could ignore its environmental duties.

“The current picture of our economy is not a pretty one,” he announced at the official launch.

He added: “What is clear is that we cannot simply walk away from our long term obligations for this city.”

The Mayor’s office has teamed up with the city council, state authorities and the sanitation department to make the scheme’s expansion possible.

City council speaker Christine Quinn said: “[It] is a great example of how we can do more with less if we put our minds to it and a great commitment that no matter how bad things get, no matter how tight revenues get, we are never going to walk away from our commitment to the environment.”

But officials warned that the scheme was still a pilot and could only prove a success if New Yorkers used the bins properly.

Mayor Bloomberg said: “If the rate of contamination begins to undermine the effort being put into this programme we will not be afraid to pull the plug.

“It would be sad if we had to do it, but we are only going to do those things that are really working, and this is something that does require cooperation.”

There will now be 231 bins in total, and it marks the first time that all five boroughs have been part of the scheme.

Officials said they had also learnt lessons from the pilot, when several bins had to be removed because of lack of pedestrian traffic past them.

Kate Martin

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