New compost program in Queens collected over 12.7 million pounds of waste in just three months

Posted On Fri, January 6, 2023 By

Posted On Fri, January 6, 2023 By In Policy, Queens

Image courtesy of Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office on Flickr

In just three months, the new Queens compost program collected more than 12.7 million pounds of organic waste, according to data recently released by the city’s sanitation department. The program, which launched last October, enrolled every residential building in the borough in a weekly curbside composting collection. According to the department, Queens districts significantly outperformed other communities that also participate in compost collection. The data shows that New Yorkers are eager to dispose of their food and yard waste in a sustainable manner.

Mayor Eric Adams announced the start of the borough-wide compost program last fall following calls by NYC lawmakers for a mandatory citywide compost program at residential buildings throughout the city. As part of the new Queens program, the Department of Sanitation delivered compost bins to every residential building throughout Queens and collected them weekly.

During the first three months of the program, eight of 14 Queens districts disposed of more compost than the previous opt-in compost program’s best-performing district, Brooklyn District 6. Including Park Slope, Carroll Gardens, and Cobble Hill, District 6 has been participating in compost programs for almost a decade.

Queens District 12, which encompasses Hollis, Jamaica, Springfield Gardens, and St. Albans, had not taken part in previous opt-in compost programs. However, over the course of the fall, the district disposed of more compost than all the seven districts in the previous program disposed of combined.

The program also cost the city only one-third per district of the previous program’s cost, with the new Queens program costing $467,000 per district compared to the previous curbside program which cost roughly $1,625,000 per district.

“For 20 years, the city has been trying to develop a successful and a sustainable model for organics collection. And Mayor Adams promised that to New Yorkers, and I think it shows that he’s delivering on it,” Sanitation Commissioner Jessica Tisch told Gothamist in an interview.

Tisch attributes the program’s overwhelming success to the loosening of restrictions on the types of bins that are eligible for usage and the automatic enrollment of residents in the program.

Taking into account the program’s success, Tisch said that the sanitation department is analyzing data from the Queens program and thinking of ways to expand it to the city’s other boroughs.

The success of the compost program will help the city become greener in many ways, one of which is reducing the number of rats on the streets looking for food waste. In order to see the continued success of the program, the city says it must retain a high level of participation among New Yorkers.

The Queens compost program was put on hold following the fall season, and collection will resume on March 27.

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