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The city’s composting program is making its Brooklyn debut in Greenwood Heights and Windsor Terrace, meaning that apartment dwellers who want to go green can soon count on curb-side service for their rotting leftovers.
The Department of Sanitation has chosen the neighborhoods near Prospect Park as the first in the borough to take part in the voluntary program that has locals separate their food scraps from other garbage to make compost. More than 9,000 households will participate in the trial run, according to the trash agency, but residents we spoke to are not eager to add one more color of trash bags — light green — to their kitchen routine.
“I’m not ready to jump into this,” said Sol Makon of Fuller Place, one of several residents we polled who had the option to turn his food scraps into fertilizer for gardens and parks, but decided not to. “It takes a long enough time to recycle what you got.”
Under the program, which has already been rolled out in parts of Staten Island and the Bronx, participating residents will collect food waste like fruit and vegetable peels, chicken bones, pasta, egg shells, and coffee grounds, for sanitation workers to pick up once a week on a designated day starting in October. The sanitation agency will provide eager composters with a starter kit that includes a bucket-sized, lidded container for the kitchen, compostable bags, and a large brown bin to roll out to the curb.
Makon also expressed concern that food scraps sitting in the bins will be an aromatic attraction for raccoons who already root through trash in the neighborhood between Greenwood Cemetery and Brooklyn’s backyard. A spokeswoman for the Department of Sanitation said the special bins have a latch to keep the lid sealed and will actually be an improvement on the mounds of black bags that currently line the streets.
“By keeping the bins clean, the [sanitation] department does not expect it to smell,” said agency spokesman Kathy Dawkins, pointing out that mingling food with household trash and piling it along the curb creates a buffet for hungry vermin.
For now, residents will not be fined for throwing out their pizza crusts with their paint cans, but sanitation officials hope to see it spread and will be peeking into people’s cans to measure the mess. Outgoing Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants separating organic trash to be made mandatory, but whether it does will be up to the next mayor.
Bill DeBlasio, who came out on top in Tuesday night’s Democratic primary but may face a runoff with former Comptroller Bill Thompson, backs the program, but Republican candidate Joe Lhota has said that it should not be shoved down people’s throats.
Sanitation officials will pickup the waste every Monday, starting Oct. 7, on blocks between Eight and 11th avenues, every Tuesday, starting Oct. 8, on blocks between 11th and Caton avenues, and every Wednesday, starting Oct. 9, on blocks between Sixth and Eighth avenues.
Most of the collected waste will be processed at an industrial scale composting facility at Rikers Island, while a smaller portion will be sent to a plant along the Newtown Creek to be converted to natural gas, according to the Daily News.
Dawkins said that composting will save taxpayers $60 million in landfill bills.
Other items participating residents can toss in their new cans include: meat, bread, cereal, dairy products, tea bags, napkins, paper towels, paper plates, flowers, houseplants, leaves, and yard waste.
The city already subsidizes compost drop-offs at weekly farmers markets throughout New York.
©2013 Community Newspaper Group
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