Bay Ridge

Bay Ridge begins organic recycling April 28

Food scraps, yard waste to be sorted for separate collection

April 2, 2014 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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Bay Ridge is joining the city’s composting revolution.

Residents in the southwest Brooklyn community will begin voluntarily taking part in the Department of Sanitation’s pilot program to recycle organic trash for composting at the end of this month.

Residents won’t be expected to compost, but they will be asked to place things like food scraps, coffee grounds, yard waste and even food-soiled paper in a special bin for separate collection by sanitation workers – apart from the normal recycling collections that have taken place for years.

Each household in the target area will be given a bin.

“The good news is that organic recycling in the pilot area will be collected twice per week!” said Josephine Beckmann, district manager of Community Board 10.

Not everyone is being asked to take part in the new program. Beckmann, who announced the program at the board’s March 24 meeting, said the area being targeted by the Dept. of Sanitation for the pilot program is located south of 74th Street, from Shore Road to Seventh Avenue. Only buildings with nine housing units or less will be asked to participate.

The Dept. of Sanitation will begin mailing out informational fliers to residents in the target area during the week of April 7 to familiarize them with the new program. Trash bins and starter kits will be delivered during the week of April 21.

The collections will begin the week of April 28.

Windsor Terrace, which began organic recycling in 2013, was the first community in Brooklyn to take part in the program. Parts of Park Slope and Gowanus came aboard soon after.

The pilot program came about as a result of an amendment to the city’s recycling law approved by the City Council. The amendment called for the Dept. of Sanitation to test a collection system for organic waste for the purpose of composting and for the test period to take place between Oct., 1, 2013 and July 1, 2015.

The idea of organic recycling and composting is to “divert organic material from disposal for beneficial use,” according to the agency’s website.

Currently, food scraps account for 17.7 percent of the city’s trash, according to a pie chart on the Dept. of Sanitation website. Yard trimmings account for 4.2 percent and compostable paper makes up 6.8 percent.

During the 2012-13 school year, the Dept. of Sanitation serviced 90 public schools in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Staten Island in partnership with the Department of Education, as well as three private schools. During the 2013-14 school year, the number of schools participating in organics collection will reach well over 300, according to the website.

The pilot program then expanded to residential households, with the Dept. of Sanitation collecting organic waste from single family and small apartment buildings. The program reached more than 30,000 households in the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Staten Island.

City Hall and Gracie Mansion are also part of the pilot program.

Community Board 10 is part of the Dept. of Sanitation’s effort to reach 100,000 households in the city by the end of this year. The program is also expanding to Sunset Park.

The Gotham Gazette reported that the city’s organic recycling movement began during the Bloomberg Administration. The website called the effort “a transformative mark on a part of city life that is often overlooked — the waste we produce every day.”

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