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May 2, 2014 11:17 AM

NYC Organics Collection Begins!

Starts in all boroughs except Manhattan.

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  1. I've participated in the program already, and because it is voluntary, it will not be as successful as it should be. To truly succeed, the program needs to be mandated and enforced. NYDS has the right idea, but their execution is all wrong.

    I stopped "composting" after 20 weeks, and only one family on my block (out of 20) is continuing to "compost" for NYC. People stopped putting out their compost bins when they learned that the program was *voluntary*. (Very sad, but very true).

    4 Replies
    1. re: Cheese Boy

      Just curious CheeseBoy, what caused you to stop? And what did others you know, cite as problems/barriers that made them stop?

      1. re: DuchessNukem

        DuchessNukem, we have a successful recycling program here in NYC where we are all required to recycle plastics, glass, and paper. It's the law here, and it is enforced.

        The newly instated Organics Collection Program (composting program) was adopted so that NYC could reduce its trash disposal costs and limit greenhouse gas emissions. (Our trash here in NYC is loaded onto trains and transported to West Virginia or South Carolina presently). The cost associated with that "transport" is high, so NYDS has asked that we start collecting food scraps, food-soiled paper, and plant and yard waste to help divert the waste even further and to help reduce expenses at the same time. The "compost" generated by this new collection will be used in NYC for parks, street trees, etc. If there is an abundance of compost, that collection will be sold to private landscapers (thus creating some revenue for the city).

        The program was piloted in September 2013 in my nabe.
        We were given beautiful HDPE collection bins (manufactured in Canada) to help with the collection and the entire cause. It created some excitement at first, and almost everyone was on board. Bins were placed at the curb every week along with the recyclables and everything was great. After several weeks, the local newspaper published an article revealing that the program was not mandatory, but voluntary, and THIS is what caused the program's demise. People did not want to deal with separating their "stinky" trash any more if they didn't have to, and they didn't want to worry about buying those special compostable bags either. (NYDS gives you 20 small "compostable" bags initially, then you have to purchase your own or use brown bags, etc).

        Soooo, DuchessNukem, many residents don't even recycle properly (nevermind compost at all) and they cite the reason as it's "too much work, or too much of a hassle". IMO, that's just blatant laziness.

        I stopped composting because I was not going to contribute to a program that I no longer supported and that IMHO was set to fail. If we are expected to compost in NYC, then let's ALL do our share (not just a select few of us).

        1. re: Cheese Boy

          Thanks for reply, CheeseBoy. I grew up in Brooklyn & Queens, I'm glad to hear that there have been some trash improvements in the millenia since I left. (Summer garbage strikes, anyone? lol)

          Bummer that it's not going well. It really is everyone's responsibility, if the resources and support are available.

          1. re: DuchessNukem

            >> 'It really is everyone's responsibility'. <<

            You are exactly right.

            BTW, the piloted neigborhoods seem to be ones that have undergone gentrification. Maybe there's some real quality trash to be had there ?? LOL. Who knows.

            Brooklyn ...
            Windsor Terrace, Greenwood Heights, and Park Slope

            Queens ...
            Glendale, parts of Middle Village, and Maspeth

    2. Organic recycling in NYC should NEVER be mandatory. It's doomed to failure from a pest and filth standpoint. This program requires people to use biodegradable bags which are not only expensive but break down even in storage which means you cannot even purchase them in bulk to reduce the cost. They break down faster as soon as liquids (food) touches them and in the sun and rain even faster. They are thin and pests (even cats) will smell the food and will be torn. Why do people purchase mint smelling bags? to keep pests away. Also, how do you enforce this? Will the sanitation dept. open every garbage bag and go through it? And what if they find some leftover pasta; will the homeowner be punished by an unfair summons? We live in small apartments and will now have to keep FOUR garbage containers? People like Blooberg and DeBlotchio are wealthy and have servants to clean up. Voluntary is the only way for organic recycling. This just started in Brooklyn and landlords are already talking of raising rents to cover the additional costs. Yes, at the end of the day we will PAY for this program.