Let it all go to waste!
The city’s universal curbside organics collection pilot in Queens has yielded more than 1 million pounds of food and yard waste in just two weeks of operation, diverting the refuse from landfills to instead be turned into nutritious, earthy compost.
The Sanitation Department announced the scrappy success Tuesday evening on Twitter, utilizing a meme of Dr. Evil from the vaunted Austin Powers franchise to tout the preliminary results of the “nation’s largest curbside composting program.”
“No borough scrappier than #Queens,” beamed Borough President Donovan Richards in a response on Twitter.
More than 35,000 Queens residents have requested a free brown compost bin from DSNY and an additional 6,000 have requested stickers to place on their own bins, said DSNY spokesperson Vincent Gragnani, and the department expects those numbers to grow. Residents can also procure and use their own brown bin if they so wish.
Since the rollout on Oct. 3. DSNY is already collecting from Queens residents twice the amount of organic waste — measured in average weight and divided by Community Board — compared to residents of the other boroughs.
“The week-to-week tonnage increased between weeks one and two, and what’s more is that Queens residents are giving us way more pounds per district than the curbside composting districts in other boroughs – on average, it’s about double the tonnage,” Gragnani said in an email. “It’s pretty amazing to see how successful a program can be when it hits every address.”
Compostable items to toss in the brown bin include yard waste, food scraps, and food-soiled paper products. About one-third of the 24 million tons of trash produced daily in the Big Apple consists of compostable organic matter. By separating organic waste from regular household trash, Queens residents can prevent it from going to landfills and instead rest assured it will be turned into nutrient-rich soil for use in city parks.
Mayor Eric Adams and DSNY announced the universal pilot program back in August, available to every household in the borough on a weekly schedule, with no opt-in required. That differs from the program set up under the de Blasio administration, where it was only available in certain community districts, and households had to opt-in. The regional opt-in program is still ongoing in the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Manhattan, while Staten Island has no curbside organics program to speak of.
The pilot will first run through December before pausing for the winter months, and then will pick back up in March. Organics pickup by New York’s Strongest takes place on the same day as recycling pickup.