In just the first month of New York City’s pilot organics recycling program, 25 tons of organic material were collected in a Staten Island neighborhood.
According to a story in Waste & Recycling News, 43% of the residents in that neighborhood are participating in the voluntary program. Mayor Michael Bloomberg is considering expanding the program to the entire city, beginning with voluntary participation but with an eye toward making it mandatory.
New York City joins San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, and other local governments, in which organics recycling programs have been launched. There are over 200 organics recycling programs in the United States today. San Francisco, which has had mandatory organics recycling since 2009, has seen more than a 50 percent increase in organics collection since the program began.
Recycling organic material makes sense from a variety of perspectives:
• Recycling organics rather than sending them to the landfill creates more jobs. Collection of material for landfilling creates 1.3 jobs per 1000 tons. Collection and recycling of material creates 5.3 jobs per 1000 tons.
• Landfilling organic waste can create uncaptured Methane, a Greenhouse Gas 25 times more powerful than Carbon Dioxide. Well managed organics recycling does not release Methane.
• Food waste is the most prevalent item in the waste stream. Recycling this material can create a renewable source of energy; it is also a good source for organic fertilizer, which reduces the need for chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
Find out more about the environmental benefits of organics recycling.
If you aren’t already composting at home, here are some ideas about how to start.
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