Photo Courtesy of DSNY
Thursday’s announcement means curbside composting and seasonal leaf collections are being restored nearly a year ahead of schedule.
By Forum Staff
The City will resume its Curbside Composting Program, which had been put on hold due to the budgetary impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Thursday.
This new iteration of the program will be available to the 3.5 million New Yorkers who previously had curbside collection service, with buildings and residents able to voluntarily opt-in to receive free weekly curbside composting service. Enrollment will launch in August, with collection services set to begin in October and expand as more buildings opt in. Significant expansions of community composting, reuse, and hazardous waste disposal programs are included in the announcement as well.
To allow the City to continue to devote resources to essential safety, health, shelter and food security needs, the City made a number of tough budget cuts in the spring of 2020, including those that affected the curbside composting program. Thursday’s announcement means curbside composting and seasonal leaf collections are being restored nearly a year ahead of schedule.
In addition to the re-launch of voluntary curbside composting, the popular Food Scrap Drop-Off program will be significantly expanded, from over 100 community-based sites at present to more than 200 this fall. From September 2020 through February 2021, many food scrap drop-offs have broken participation records and have collected and diverted 1,300,000 pounds of material. Residents can find their closest site at nyc.gov/dropfoodscraps.
Growth of this program will be achieved via a restoration of GrowNYC’s Greenmarket Composting program funding and an expansion of NYC Compost Project funding to support community-based drop-offs, composting and education. In addition, it will include a first-of-its-kind pilot of “smart bins,” in which New Yorkers use an app to access public food scrap drop-off bins, thus preventing cross-contamination and misuse.
As part of Thursday’s announcement, School Curbside Composting service will also return in the 2021-2022 school year, and nearly 1,000 schools that had service prior to COVID-19 will resume curbside composting.
Beyond composting, Thursday’s announcement includes expansions or restorations of several other sustainability programs. SAFE Disposal Events, which collect Solvents, Automotive, Flammables, and Electronics products as well as other regulated waste, will expand from two per borough each year – a total of 10 – to nearly 60 per year, one for each community district. This six-fold expansion means fewer dangerous chemicals and products on our streets, in our waterways, or in landfills.
Special Waste Drop-off locations, sites around the city where residents can drop off harmful materials that do not belong in household trash, will also be re-opening starting this July. These sites have been closed since March 2020.
The City Department of Sanitation will begin offering Reuse Swap Events across the five boroughs to keep usable items out of landfills and help them find good homes.
“With climate change already taking a toll on our city in terms of severe storms like Sandy, it is imperative that we leave no stone unturned in our fight to make New York City the greenest city in America—ensuring the long-term sustainability of our communities in the process,” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, Jr. “The restoration and expansion of these programs are part of a greater puzzle we must solve to secure the safety of our families, and Queens is grateful to all involved for their commitment.”