Mayor Expands Organic Food Waste Recycling Program

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Deputy Mayor for Operations Cas Holloway, and Sanitation Commissioner John J. Doherty recently launched the new “Recycle Everything” public information campaign to promote recycling and announce the expansion of the organic food waste recycling program. The initiatives are part of the city’s work to double the recycling rate to 30 percent by 2017 and follow the largest expansion of the recycling program in 25 years with the processing of all rigid plastics that began last spring. In total, metal, glass, plastic, food waste, textiles, and electronics account for 80 percent of the total waste stream. The public information and collection services will help divert away from landfills materials that can be recycled.

The organic food waste recycling program will expand to select buildings in Manhattan, with communities in Brooklyn and the Bronx to follow this fall. The mayor first announced the development of the residential organic recycling program in his 2013 State of the City address, chronicling the success of the pilot in more than 90 public schools in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Organic waste accounts for more than 35 percent of the total waste stream, and recycling will divert it from landfill to be composted or converted into energy. The program expanded to residents in the Westerleigh on Staten Island in late May. Since then, the Department of Sanitation has already measured a more than 50 percent voluntary participation rate.

Organics collection has begun in Manhattan at the Helena and Morningside Gardens apartment high rises. In Morningside Gardens, the total weight of trash has plummeted by 35 percent and households are recycling about one pound of food scraps each day. Given the success of the program, organics collection will begin this fall in Windsor Terrace in Brooklyn and in Throgs Neck, Edgewater Park, Schuylerville, and Country Club in the Bronx. Next spring, the program will extend to Beechurst, Bay Terrace, Cambria Heights, Glendale, Maspeth, and Middle Village in Queens; to Cobble Hill, Bay Ridge, and Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn; and to areas of Staten Island including Midland Beach, New Dorp Beach, Tottenville, Howland Hook, and Mariners Harbor. By 2014, the program will reach more than 100,000, with approximately 25,000 households in each borough.