New Yorkers will be seeing a lot more of those brown refuse containers around the city as the sanitation department expands its curbside pickup of organic waste to serve nearly one million residents. The city’s Department of Sanitation recently launched its pilot program to collect food scraps and yard waste to turn into compost, thus reducing the amount of organic material destined for landfills. DSNY will now expand that program’s reach to serve around 960,000 residents by the end of this year.

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New York’s Department of Sanitation is one of the greenest in the nation. It even operates out of a LEED Gold-seeking facility with a 1.5-acre green roof. In an effort to keep organic material out of landfills, DSNY’s collection of food scraps and yard waste began as a pilot program that served just a small segment of the city’s population. The department had previously announced a plan to expand service in 2017, but announced on Monday that it is ahead of schedule.

Related: NYC to triple food waste compost program in 2017 to reach a million residents

Rather than wait until next year, DSNY will expand the program starting next month to include parts of Dyker Heights in Brooklyn along with Ridgewood, Auburndale, Bayside, Douglaston, Little Beck, Hollis Hills and Oakland Gardens in Queens. The expansion is expected to reach around 960,000 residents, and DSNY says the addition of some highrise buildings next year will push that figure over one million. The curbside collection of organics is part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s goal to cut landfill waste by 90 percent within the next 17 years. The program recycles food scraps and yard waste into valuable composted fertilizer, and also provides a potent source of methane gas when converted which can be utilized as fuel or burned off safely.

“Organic materials make up about a third of our trash. When you recycle your food and yard waste, you decrease the amount of garbage going to landfills and help create a greener and healthier New York City,” Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia told Politico in a statement.

Via Politico

Images via DSNY