Mayor Adams expands composting in Queens – New York Daily News

In theory, weekly curbside composting pickup is a great thing. New Yorkers can dispose of food scraps in sealed bins that don’t attract rats; when the organic waste biodegrades, it can fertilize soil and generate energy, not just stink up landfills.

In practice, the city’s program has been stuck in a rut ever since COVID put it on pause. Mayor de Blasio brought curbside composting pickup back last year, but only to community districts where a critical mass of residents opted back in. As a result, just seven of the city’s 59 sanitation districts — two in Manhattan, four in Brooklyn and one in the Bronx — participate, and only a subset of residents in each.

The trouble is route design. Sending trucks to do pickup beyond zones of high demand would mean lots of empty runs. Nor is the city ready to take the leap to commit to requiring all 9 million of us participate, an expensive and complex proposition.

Mayor Adams and his new sanitation commissioner, Jessica Tisch, have found an intelligent way forward. Beginning in early October, in the largest borough by geography and its second-largest by population, Queens, curbside composting will be available to all 2.2 million residents, no sign-up required. And no one will be compelled to participate.

The city fixed its chicken-and-egg problem, whereby expansion didn’t make sense unless participation could be assured, by creatively combining the pickup of discarded chicken and eggs and banana peels and pizza crusts with the collection of yard waste. That makes sense in Queens, which has got many suburban swaths. It would need big alterations to be applied to, say, Manhattan.

It remains to be seen whether 5% or 25% or 75% of Queens residents will bother separating their organic waste in separate sealed bins. If uptake rates are exceedingly low, the city will want to reassess running the trucks all across the borough weekly. But for now, it looks like Tisch and Adams have done something that’s the opposite of wasteful.

Source link