Sanitation Dept. expands organic recycling in Bay Ridge
More Bay Ridge residents will be asked to collect their after-dinner table scraps as part of the Department of Sanitation’s organic recycling effort, according to a local official who said the agency is expanding a pilot program already underway in the neighborhood.
Josephine Beckmann, district manager of Community Board 10, told board members at an April 20 meeting that the city’s organic recycling program, which was introduced to certain portions of Bay Ridge last year, is now being expamded to cover the entire neighborhood.
The pilot program, which is voluntary, will now include single family homes and apartment buildings with under 10 units located between 62nd and 74th streets and from Shore Road to Seventh Avenue.
The Dept. of Sanitation (DOS) will notify property owners in the target area by mail about the program’s expansion, Beckmann said. The notices are scheduled to be mailed out on May 21.
“Bins will be delivered to homes and buildings and collection will start June 8. Residents will receive a free ‘starter kit’ including an outdoor organics bin, an indoor kitchen collector, and detailed information on how to participate,” Beckmann said.
The organic waste will have to be stored in containers separate from other recyclables such as newspapers, glass and metal.
Sanitation workers will collect the organic material twice a week, on the days when local trash is collected.
“Residents can set out food and yard waste in the brown bin, and can set out extra yard waste in paper bags or other unlined bins,” Beckmann instructed.
“We were told that the Sanitation Department was pleased with the results they have seen in our pilot area and decided to expand the program,” Beckmann told the Brooklyn Eagle on Monday.
The following items are considered organic and acceptable for the organic collection program: vegetables and fruits; prepared foods; baked goods, cereal, grains, pasta, and rice; eggs and eggshells; dairy products; meat, fish, bones, nuts; paper towels and napkins; paper plates; coffee filters and tea bags; paper bags and paper trays; leaves, grass clippings, garden trimmings and plants, according to DOS.
DOS spokeswoman Kathy Dawkins said the residential organics collection pilot program started in 2013 in Windsor Terrace, Greenwood Heights, and portions of Park Slope in Brooklyn; in Westerleigh, Mariner’s Harbor, Graniteville on Staten Island; in Throgs Neck, Country Club, Silver Beach and Edgewater Park in the Bronx; and in Morningside Gardens and the Helena apartment complexes in Manhattan.
In 2014, the pilot program was expanded to parts of Bay Ridge and Sunset Park in Brooklyn, as well as Glendale, Middle Village and parts of Maspeth in Queens.
“There are currently about 100,000 households served by the program,” Dawkins told the Eagle in an email.
This May and June, in addition to Bay Ridge, the program will expand to Greenpoint and North Williamsburg in Brooklyn; along with Riverdale, North Riverdale and Fieldston in the Bronx; Castleton Corners, Port Richmond and West Brighton on Staten Island; and Ridgewood, Woodside and the rest of Maspeth in Queens.
It is estimated that the expansion will bring an additional 35,000 to 40,000 households into the pilot program.
Organic recycling has the potential not only to help save the city money; it will also help New York become more environmentally friendly, according to Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia.
Organic materials make up approximately 31 percent of the city’s residential trash, according to DOS.
“Organics material makeup about a third of our trash and we spend millions of dollars every year to send it to out of state landfills. We hope our organics collection program will not only reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills but also create compost, a natural fertilizer,” Garcia said in a statement.
What happens to the organic material after it is collected by sanitation workers?
On Staten Island, the material is brought to a local compost facility. In other areas of the city, the material goes to a transfer station and is then transported to a regional processor, according to Dawkins, who said DOS has contracted a number of vendors in the tri-state region, including WeCare Organics and Waste Management.
Food waste from New York City that is processed regionally becomes feedstock to create compost that is used to help keep soil healthy. Some material from local greenmarkets or drop off locations is processed locally and made available for street trees, community gardens and parks.
DOS established the organic recycling program in accordance with Local Law 77, legislation that was passed by the City Council in 2013.
There is no word on when the program will go citywide or when it will become mandatory.
“The Department is carefully evaluating the public’s response to the program and will determine the next step,” Dawkins said in her email.
Earlier version of article contained incorrect information about the collection schedule for organic items.
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