Mayor Bill de Blasio proposed mandatory composting during his Earth Day announcement, but in September, he temporarily shelved expansion of a pilot project to recycle food scraps due to low use.
The project more than doubled curbside composting collection from 13,000 tons in fiscal year 2017 to 31,000 tons in 2018, according to the Department of Sanitation. But the city generates 14 million tons of garbage a year, about one-third of which is food waste, so the increase in composting made only a tiny dent in landfill reduction.
It’s unclear how the mayor will force New Yorkers to recycle food waste as he hasn’t dedicated any additional funding to the program for fiscal year 2020.
“We look forward to working out the details of this legislation in partnership with City Council,” said a Sanitation spokeswoman.
Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan) says his composting plan on the Upper East Side has reduced food waste going to landfills by 25%. But he said the mayor has not reached out to talk strategy.
Kallos suggested that New York follow San Francisco’s example of paying poor people to educate their neighbors about the program. “The city really needs to [pay] people who are underemployed . . . to do this outreach work on nights and weekends,” he said.