This City is Rocking Composting

Weekly curbside pickups will launch soon.

Sep 1, 2022
This City is Rocking Composting | Weekly curbside pickups will launch soon.

Queens is the greenest of the five boroughs of New York City. That also means that there is plenty of leaves, grass clippings, and tree trimming debris that can be composted. Now, it’s about to get much easier for the borough to be environmentally green too.

Composting is vitally important. When organic waste decomposes in landfills, it produces methane gas, but when composted, the same waste can be used to improve soil and water quality, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

That’s why the city is starting curbside composting for all the residents of Queens beginning on October 3, 2022. The sanitation department has already begun delivering bins according to a NYC press release.

“Starting this fall, we're bringing guaranteed, weekly curbside composting to the entire borough of Queens – taking action to keep our streets clean and simultaneously fight climate change,” NYC mayor Eric Adams said in the press release.

“This launch makes New York City home to the largest curbside composting program in the country and will help Queens residents easily get rid of yard waste, food scraps, and food-soiled paper products in an environmentally conscious way,” he said. There's no sign-up required, and all that Queens residents need to do it put out their waste in a separate bag or bin. This is how we ‘Get Stuff Done' for our city.”

Why Queens?
Queens, the largest borough in the city, was chosen for the composting program because of the diversity of its  neighborhoods including dense multifamily buildings and private homes with yards. Many of the neighborhoods in Queens have been historically underserved.

According to the department of sanitation (DSNY), the weekly collection schedule will be posted by mid-September and the composting program will run to the end of 2022. Then it will pause for the winter and resume in late March.

“Mayor Adams tasked us with developing a new program that would be effective, affordable, and equitable,” said DSNY Commissioner Jessica Tisch. “We looked at what had worked in the past, as well as what hadn't, and developed a smart, innovative solution that is going to be easier for the people of New York City, harder for rats, and better for the planet.”

While the other boroughs won’t be receiving curbside pick-ups, there are still composting options, reported NBC News. There will be 250 “smart” composting bins set up citywide that will be accessible using a smartphone app. This is part of a pilot program that also contains increased collections for litter cans.

What can be composted
Leaf and yard waste is compostable and Queen’s residents can place a labeled bin or bag that is separate from other household trash in the curb, according to the DSNY website.

You can also compost food scraps and food-soiled paper goods like napkins, paper towels, and uncoated plates. This can be out in the official bin or your own labeled bin. You can order a composting bin decal on the site. Do not include diapers, animal waste or anything that can be recycled.

If you don’t live in a place that offers composting, and you have a yard, you can do it yourself. All you need is a small bin in your kitchen to collect food waste and a bin or compost pile outside. You can compost outdoor waste and organics like eggshells, coffee, tea bags, fruits, and vegetables.

Composting is one of the easiest ways for people to help impact the environment positively. Curbing methane gas emissions will help to mitigate climate change. Hopefully more cities will follow this example and begin curbside pickups.

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Bonnie has dedicated her life to promoting social justice. She loves to write about empowering women, helping children, educational innovations, and advocating for the environment & sustainability.