New York City Compost Project Reaching New Heights

Composting program expands to high-rise neighborhoods in New York City

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

Food waste accounts for roughly one-fifth of what New York City residents throw away — and the high fraction, according to the Bureau of Waste Prevention, Reuse and Recycling, is, well, wasteful. Now, the city’s compost project is expanding to high-rise neighborhoods in order to make composting more widely accessible and successful.

The compost program, which began in 1993, has started to distribute single-gallon compost bins to the residents of Manhattan apartment buildings. The small size was designed to avoid what most people worry about when it comes to composting: smell.

Ultimately, the aim for the individual compost bins is to popularize the practice to the point when people can’t imagine not composting food waste. Says Ron Gonen, New York’s deputy commissioner for recycling and sustainability, “It becomes habit forming.” He also added, “Ten years from now, people will look back at the fact that we were exporting our food waste to landfills, and spending $100 million a year, and they’ll look back and wonder what we were thinking paying all this money.”

Composting drop-off sites are becoming increasingly numerous. One might be as close to you as the nearest greenmarket or library, which leaves little excuse to not get involved. 

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