We recently learned that 100 New York City restaurants would be participating in a food waste composting program. Now, The New York Times reports that Mayor Bloomberg, who in February called food waste “New York City’s final recycling frontier", will soon announce a new composting plan that aims to divert 100,000 tons of food scraps from landfills each year and become mandatory city-wide by 2016. It's not just good for the environment, it is financially wise, as well:
The city spent $336 million last year disposing of residential trash, exporting most of it to landfills in Ohio, Pennsylvania and South Carolina.
Food waste and other organic materials account for almost a third of all residential trash, and the city could save about $100 million a year by diverting it from landfills, said Ron Gonen, who was hired last year as deputy sanitation commissioner for recycling and sustainability, a new job at the department.
“We bury 1.2 million tons of food waste in landfills every year at a cost of nearly $80 per ton,” he said. “That waste can be used as fertilizer or converted to energy at a much lower price. That’s good for the environment and for taxpayers.”
We've long covered the importance (and many different ways) of composting at home, but municipal programs like those in San Francisco and soon New York are important in systemically changing how we look at waste and opportunity. If you want to learn more, Jaymi Heimbuch visited the San Francisco waste processing facility to learn how composting can work on such a large scale.