NYC May Eventually Require Residents To Compost Food Scraps In Citywide Program

Are you gonna eat that? No? Mind if it just stick in this here bucket, let it sit for a bit and then dump it on my garden? That’s what we call composting (in a nut shell) and it’s been on the mind of New York City’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg lately. His administration tested out a pilot program recently and is now looking at requiring all city dwellers to take part eventually.

City officials said yesterday that after the successful test program in 3,500 Staten Island homes and some Manhattan apartments, the program is expected to expand to 100,000 houses and other dwellings in all five boroughs in the fall, reports the Associated Press.

And while the scrap collecting would be a voluntary effort to make NYC greener at first, Bloomberg’s team wants it to be a mandatory situation in a few years.

That kind of program isn’t unprecedented in the U.S., as both San Francisco and Seattle require compost collection for some residents. It could be a tricky plan to execute, however, so if NYC can pull it off, other cities may follow.

“New York City, because of its density, faces logistical challenges on many fronts, and so when the city concludes that food waste composting is workable and economically and environmentally sound, that’s a decision that other municipalities will give weight to,” said Eric Goldstein, an National Resources Defense Council lawyer who works on waste issues.

It could be tough for some New Yorkers — who wants a bucket of moldy coffee grounds and apple peels sitting around where rats could come a’calling? — but the city says it could save taxpayer dollars.

Currently residents pay around $100 million to deposit 1.2 million tons of food waste a year in landfills, according to the city. If those scraps are turned into compost, it could be used as fertilizer or made into biogas.

This is all part of Bloomberg’s push toward recycling and greening up the Big Apple, as it were, along with his goals of doubling recycling in the city and banning extruded polystyrene containers, known colloquially as Styrofoam.

On a somewhat related note: Please don’t cut down on garbage collection like Portland, Ore. or residents may have to resort to extreme measures to get rid of all those dirty diapers.

NYC aims to require composting food scraps [Associated Press]

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