Published On: Mon, Jun 17th, 2013

New Bloomberg calls for New Yorkers to recycle leftovers for compost

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg tried to curb soda consumption, ban smoking in parks and encourage bike riding. Now the New York Mayor is seeking to require citizens to separate their food scraps for composting.

pro life flags in trashcanSan Francisco and Seattle, have adopted rules that mandate recycling of food waste from homes, but sanitation officials in New York had long considered the city too dense and vertically structured for such a policy to succeed.

Recent pilot programs in the city, though, have shown an unexpectedly high level of participation, officials said.

“By recycling food waste, we can cut down on the total amount of trash we send to landfills and put it to better use as compost for community gardens or even energy,” said Caswell Holloway, deputy mayor for operations. “This is an innovative program that’s already seen success in homes on Staten Island and our public schools, and we’re excited to expand it to more New Yorkers.”

Food scraps make up about 1.2 million tons, or 35 percent, of the city’s annual waste, which gets sent to landfills at a cost of about $80 per ton, Mayor Bloomberg said in February, when he announced the goal. Recycled waste could be used as fertilizer or converted to natural gas at much lower prices, the mayor said. The initiative is part of a broader goal to divert 30 percent of waste from landfills by 2017.

“This is going to be really transformative,” Mr. Holloway said. “You want to get on a trajectory where you’re not sending anything to landfills.”

The residential program will initially work on a voluntary basis, but officials predict that within a few years, it will be mandatory.

New Yorkers who do not separate their food scraps could be subject to fines, just as they are currently if they do not recycle plastic, paper or metal.

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About the Author

- Roxanne "Butter" Bracco began with the Dispatch as Pittsburgh Correspondent, but will be providing reports and insights from Washington DC, Maryland and the surrounding region. Contact Roxie aka "Butter" at [email protected] ATTN: Roxie or Butter Bracco

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