New York City plans to bring composting to all 5 boroughs within 20 months

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Wednesday, February 1, 2023
NYC plans to bring composting to all 5 boroughs within 20 months
Mayor Eric Adams and the NYC Sanitation Department say they want to bring composting to all five boroughs over the next 20 months. Lauren Glassberg has the story.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Mayor Eric Adams and the NYC Sanitation Department say they want to bring composting to all five boroughs over the next 20 months.

The mayor announced the plan to expand the composting program, first implemented in Queens, during his State of the City address.

Mayor Adams and Sanitation Commissioner Jessica Tisch detailed the expansion of the program at City Hall on Wednesday.

The city implemented a Queens-wide composting program last year, and it proved popular before it was paused for the winter.

"In just three months, a pilot composting program right here in Queens kept nearly 13 million pounds of kitchen and yard waste out of landfills. That's more than the weight of 300 city buses. Imagine how much we will accomplish when every family in the city is participating. A lot of people have talked about this issue, but this administration is getting it done," Adams said.

The timeline calls for the program to restart in Queens on March 27, expand to Brooklyn on October 2, begin in the Bronx and Staten Island on March 25, 2024, and finally launch in Manhattan on October 7, 2024.

"Today, we are going where no one has gone before. By the end of 2024, every New York City resident will have access to clean, convenient, curbside compost pickup from the Department of Sanitation," Mayor Adams said. "For more than two decades, past administrations have been working to achieve citywide composting - and today, I'm proud to announce we are getting it done. By reducing the food waste that we put into trash bags, our streets will look better, smell better, and best of all, will be dealing a blow to New York City's number one enemy: rats."

"When I started at DSNY nine months ago, Mayor Adams asked me for the best kind of curbside composting program - one people would actually use," said DSNY Commissioner Tisch. "The program we rolled out in Queens last year worked - eight districts in Queens diverted more material than Park Slope, and Jamaica and St. Albans diverted more material than the entire old seven district legacy program combined! I'll never forget the first time we looked at the numbers and said, 'YAHTZEE: This is the model that can actually serve the entire city.'"

The new program is built on a number of efficiencies that drive costs down, including the use of dual-bin trucks and a right-sizing of the workforce to reduce overtime. The leaf-and-yard-waste-first approach was designed based on an analysis of successful programs in other cities, including Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, and Toronto.

Unlike past composting programs, there will be no sign-up required for this new program. Residents will simply set out anything from their kitchen or their garden in a separate bin on their recycling day and DSNY will pick up those materials to turn them into usable compost or clean, renewable energy. While DSNY will make its own Brown Bins available, this program also includes the flexibility for New Yorkers to use ANY bin of 55 gallons or less with a secure lid.

There are no current plans to make the composting program mandatory, but the agency is talking about the possibility of mandating the composting of yard waste.

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