Photo from GrowNYC.

Mayor Eric Adams ushered in a new era of curbside composting this week, with promises to expand the service to all five boroughs by next year.

(Para leer una version en espanol, vaya a este vinculo.)

The program, which the mayor said would be the largest in the country, will kick off in Brooklyn on Oct. 2, 2023; the Bronx and Staten Island on March 25, 2024; and Manhattan on Oct. 7, 2024. 

“By the end of 2024, all 8.5 million New Yorkers will finally have the rat-defying solution they’ve been waiting for for two decades,” he said in his State of the City address.

The citywide effort to collect organic waste that can be composted will be voluntary for the foreseeable future. Sanitation officials said the program is aimed at reducing the 3.4 million tons of garbage collected annually – one-third of which is compostable – and fighting rat infestations by ensuring food scraps that are compostable are deposited in rat-proof bins.  

The Queens pilot program, which the city launched in fall 2022, will resume in March 2023. It is currently paused for winter, to the dismay of some Queens residents

The city has seen an uneven rollout of curbside composting over the last 10 years with multiple rollbacks. The program rebooted in October 2021 after a pandemic pause, but was only available in a handful of community districts. 

The South Bronx did not muster enough resident sign-ups to bring curbside composting to community districts 1 (Mott Haven) and 2 (Hunts Point).

According to the Department of Sanitation’s website, the composting program is currently available in all of Queens, community board 8 in the Bronx, community boards 1, 2, 6, and 7 in Brooklyn, and community boards 6 and 7 in Manhattan.

The New York Times, which first reported the news about the expansion of curbside composting, said that the new city-wide program will cost $22.5 million the first year it’s up and running. The city will also dispense $45 million this fiscal year to cover the cost for the compost collection trucks. Waste collected from curbside composting will be processed at compost facilities and anaerobic digestion facilities, which turn food scraps into biogas.

While the new curbside composting program won’t arrive in the Bronx until 2024, residents need not fear: there are other ways to compost in the interim.

As reported by City Limits, the Department of Sanitation installed 200 orange compost “Smart Bins” across the city in early 2023, dozens of which are located in the Bronx. Using the NYC Compost app, Bronxites can see the location of the bins and unlock them when they are in close proximity. 

Residents can also bring their compost to a variety of NYC Food Scrap Drop-Off Sites, including Padre Plaza Community Garden and Friends of Brook Park Community Garden in Mott Haven.

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