Queens, New York will soon have the country’s largest composting program. Starting October 3, 2.2 million New Yorkers will automatically have weekly pickup service for yard debris, food scraps and food-soiled paper products.
“This launch makes New York City home to the largest curbside composting program in the country and will help Queens residents easily get rid of yard waste, food scraps and food-soiled paper products in an environmentally conscious way,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams in a statement. “There’s no sign-up required, and all that Queens residents need to do it put out their waste in a separate bag or bin. This is how we ‘Get Stuff Done’ for our city.”
Queens was chosen for the new service because some of its neighborhoods are historically underserved and have unfairly borne the consequences of environmental injustice, according to the mayor’s office. Residents can really take advantage of the yard debris pickup, as Queens is New York’s leafiest bureau, with 41% of the city’s street trees.
“Mayor Adams tasked us with developing a new program that would be effective, affordable and equitable,” said New York City Department of Sanitation Commissioner Jessica Tisch. “We 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.”
Many American cities have experimented with ways to persuade, entice or force residents to compost, rather than add food waste to landfills. Rotten food in landfills is a significant source of methane, which can be 21 times as bad for global warming as carbon dioxide. Throwing food waste in with yard debris and having it removed weekly is one of the easiest ways for citizens to help combat climate change. Let’s hope the program catches on, and that more cities will follow New York’s lead.
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