GREEN PIECE: The city of composting

Print This Page

First Posted: 6/24/2013

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York City has been known for taking on unique causes, but his latest one will require New Yorkers to separate their food scraps from their garbage for composting.

While this might not be the most realistic goal, I have to give him credit for trying to encourage people to make a difference.

Other major cities like San Francisco and Seattle have already adopted rules that require city residents to recycle and compost, but New York isn’t just any city. The sanitation department of New York claims that the city itself is too dense, and with all of the vertical buildings the policy may not succeed.

However, several test programs have shown high levels of participation, so Bloomberg and his administration want to move forward with the plan to begin collecting food scraps throughout the Big Apple.

Bloomberg plans on hiring a composting plant to handle the food scraps each year, which totals over 100,000 tons of scraps. According to Sanitation officials in the city, over 150,000 single family homes plan on participating in the composting program by next year. By the end of 2016, the program should expand to the entire city.

If the program passes, New York City residents will collect food waste such as stale bread, fruit scraps ,and even chicken bones, in containers they will have inside their homes. Once collected, the scraps are then deposited in larger bins on the curb for pickup. It’s basically like recycling, but instead of glass and plastic it’s food.

So what are they going to do with all of that compost? After turning the scraps into compost, the sanitation department plans on making the material available to city agencies and non-profits for use in gardening, soil mitigation, or habitat improvement programs.

Some New Yorkers are embracing the program, while others see it as more of a hassle. If you have ever lived in New York then you know that space is an issue, so some residents may not want to cramp their kitchen any more than they have to.

Mayor Bloomberg leaves office at the end of the year, but leading candidates that could replace him fully support the program, including the part that would make it mandatory.