Earth Eats: Real Food, Green Living

New York Pilots City-Wide Compost Program

New York City throws 1.2 million tons of food waste into landfills every year. Mayor Bloomberg hopes the city's new composting program will change that.

Dimly lit apple core sits in front of a black backdrop

Photo: StephenMitchell (flickr)

New York City's composting program is expected to be in full effect by 2015 or 2016.

It’s A Start

New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg has become known for ground-breaking proposals like the city-wide trans fat ban and proposed big soda ban.

Now he’s launched a number of pilot voluntary composting programs across the Big Apple.

Although the new initiative is currently small — 3,500 Staten Island homes and some Manhattan high rises — it is expected to expand to 100,000 New York City homes and apartments this fall.

Sanitation officials expect the entire city to participate by 2015 or 2016.

Reservations

While the program has been largely successful thus far, some citizens have expressed reservations.

City dwellers are resistant to mandatory composting, especially if it comes with fines. Sanitation is also a concern — keeping the discarded food from attracting pests and causing odors.

Other residents are feeling recycling fatigue, complaining that separating metal, glass and plastic in addition to trash is already too much.

New York City creates 1.2 million tons of food waste annually.

With Bloomberg leaving office at the end of the year, the future of the program is up for debate. Democratic mayoral candidates Christine Quinn, Bill de Blasio and Sal Albanese have all supported the program.

Read More:

  • NYC aims to require composting food scraps (USA Today)
  • Bloomberg Plan Aims to Require Food Composting (New York Times)
Liz Leslie

Liz Leslie is a journalist based in Bloomington, Indiana. When she's not writing about food, she's likely eating food. Or dreaming about food.

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