Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently announced plans to launch a food composting program in New York City, according to a story in the New York Times. The program will be voluntary to start and will involve 150,000 single-family homes, over 100 high rise buildings and over 600 schools over the next year.
"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."
The city will hire a contractor to process over 100,000 tons of food, which accounts for 10% of the city’s food waste. There are also plans to build a plant to convert food waste into biogas that can be used to generate electricity.
In California, despite our leadership in recycling, food waste continues to be the most prevalent item in the waste stream. When landfilled, this waste produces Methane, a Greenhouse Gas 25 times more potent than Carbon Dioxide. Food waste is easily composted or converted using anaerobic digestion processes, and can produce renewable energy or a good source of fertilizer.
• Composting organic material reduces GHG emissions compared to landfilling with energy recovery systems;
• Compost can significantly reduce agricultural energy demand;
• Composting provides nutrient-rich soils, which multiple studies have shown results in greater carbon storage in crop biomass;
• The application of compost results in a reduced need for GHG producing petroleum-based chemical fertilizer, pesticides, herbicides, and additives.
Find out more about how to compost at home.
Find out how increasing organics recycling programs can benefit California's economy and create jobs.
Photo Credit: NYTimes/Elise Amendola