Today’s Solutions: February 08, 2023

Starting in early October of this year, Queens, New York will proudly be running the nation’s grandest composting program. 

The 2.2 million New Yorkers living in Queens will have a weekly pickup service for organic waste. This means that yard debris and food scraps, and food-soiled paper products will have a better end. 

“This launch makes New York City home to the largest curbside composting program in the country,” says New York City Mayor Eric Adams in a statement. “There’s no sign-up required, and all that Queens residents need to do is put out their waste in a separate bag or bin. This is how we ‘Get Stuff Done’ for our city.”

Why Queens?

According to the mayor’s office, Queens was selected for this new composting service because the borough has a number of neighborhoods that have been historically underserved. These areas, as a result, are unfairly burdened by environmental injustice. Plus, the borough will greatly benefit from yard debris pick up considering that Queens has 41 percent of the city’s street trees.

Why is composting so important?

Mayor Adams gave the responsibility of developing a new, effective, affordable, and equitable composting program to the New York City Department of Sanitation. Jessica Tisch, a Commissioner for the Department of Sanitation, said that to lay the foundations for the program, the team “looked at what had worked in the past, as well as what hadn’t, and developed a smart, innovative solution that is going to be easier for the people of New York City, harder for rats, and better for the planet.”

Reducing the amount of food waste that ends up in landfills is an impactful way to combat climate change. When left to rot in landfills, food waste releases methane. Methane, also known as “natural gas”, can be 21 times as bad for global warming as carbon dioxide. 

The hope is that more cities will take on similar projects to help mitigate the dangerous effects of climate change that we all grapple with today. It’s also a smarter way to handle a big component of trash!

If you’re interested in implementing a composting system in your household, check out this article we wrote about it here.

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