NEW YORK—The nation's largest composting program is set to begin in Queens on Oct. 3.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams and New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY) Commissioner Jessica Tisch hope Queens residents will set an example and have a high participation rate, as previous programs have been canceled due to lack of participation and inefficiency.
Adams, Tisch, and Queens Borough President Donovan Richards announced the program on Aug. 8 at a press conference in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.
“Unlike past composting programs, there is no sign-up required for this new program. Residents of Queens need to simply set out their waste on the assigned day—all collection schedule information will be available on DSNY's composting website by mid-September—and let DSNY pick it up to turn into usable compost or clean, renewable energy,” Adams stated in a press release.
The sanitation department will guarantee compost weekly compost pickups from every Queens resident. The program will run until December, when it shuts down and restarts in March. Residents can use their own bins or call to have a specially designed compost bin delivered. Compost bins will be automatically delivered to buildings with ten or more units.
Additionally, the other boroughs of New York City will have 250 specially designed compost bins dispersed and delivered to them.
“For organics to work, it needs to benefit beyond the true believers. For that to happen, it needs to be simple to use,” Tisch said at the press conference. She said collection costs would be half that of other programs due to fleet, routing, and workforce efficiencies.
The previous iteration of the city's composting program was ended due to budget cuts related to COVID-19.
Jackson HeightsAngelo, 21, did not know about the composting program starting in October but said he would participate.
Victor Castillo, 50, did not know about the program starting in October but said it was interesting that it was happening in Queens and that he might take part.
Forest HillsAn elderly male, who did not want his name mentioned, said he didn’t think his building manager would get a composting bin, but once informed that everyone would get one, asked if he would use it, he responded, “If it will be there, why not?”
Beatriz Burth was not aware of the program but was interested in participating. “Yeah, I am. I recycle everything. I like to recycle plastic, glass, and cans. I just wish that they would do more with that,” she said.
Steven Li, 13, said he would not use the program himself, but his parents might.
William Chen, 21, had never heard of composting. He said he would have to research the program more and would consider participating.
Serge Melikyan, 42, said that if there were a bin at his apartment, he would use it.
“Yeah, composting. Recycle, reuse, and I can’t remember the third one,” said Anthony Rodriguez, 19. “Yeah, I would use it if it was there.”
George McAuliffe, 52, already has a brown compost bin but puts bird seeds in it.
“To be honest with you, I don’t think I would. I don’t have a lot of scraps, and the scraps are very minimal,” McAuliffe said.
DSNY's RulesDSNY advises that leaf and yard waste should be put in a separate bin or bag from regular trash and need to be marked as yard waste.
Food scraps and food-soiled paper products are to be put in any bin with a maximum size of 55 gallons and a secure lid. The bin should be marked with a free composting bin decal, which can be ordered from DSNY.
Any type of leaves, flower, grass clippings, and twigs are acceptable. All food scraps or food-soiled paper material, like napkins, paper towels, and uncoated plates, are acceptable.
DSNY warns not to use composting bins for diapers, hygienic products, animal waste, wrappers, packaging, or foam products. Recyclables such as metal, glass, rigid plastic, beverage cartons, clean recyclable paper, and cardboard are unacceptable.