Bloomberg's new crusade: Food scraps

New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg is taking recycling to a new level, and pilot programs have seen unexpectedly high participation.

By Aimee Picchi Jun 18, 2013 6:54AM

File photo of New York City Mayor Bloomberg at a news conference in New York, on September 13, 2012 (© Mike Segar/Reuters)Call it Portland-on-the-Hudson. 


Under Mayor Michael Bloomberg, New York City is turning into a veritable tree-hugging utopia, with bike lanes, a new bike-sharing program and a ban on smoking on parks. 


His latest goal for the city's notoriously hard-boiled residents: composting. That means New Yorkers, from the billionaire mayor himself down to the lowest-income residents, will need to separate food scraps from other rubbish, following the lead of generations of environmentalists. 


The idea of composting is to create a rich fertilizer by using decomposed food scraps, which are prized for being an economical and earth-friendly alternative to chemical fertilizers like those made by Scotts Miracle-Gro (SMG). (Full disclosure: I have a composting bin, but my efforts are, at best, halfhearted.)


Officials in the Bloomberg administration say pilot programs have had unexpectedly high levels of participation, The New York Times reports. That's encouraging the city to roll out a citywide program. 


While it's good for the earth, it's also likely to benefit the Big Apple's budget, given that New York shelled out $336 million last year just to get rid of its trash.


But not all New Yorkers may like Bloomberg's vision. That's because while the plan will start out as voluntary, composting will become mandatory within a few years. Scofflaws could end up fined if they fail to separate their Chinese-takeout leftovers from their trash, The Times notes. 


New Yorkers will be required to collect food waste in small containers, which will then be placed in larger curbside bins for pickup by sanitation trucks. 


"It's revolutionary for New York," Eric A. Goldstein, a senior lawyer with the Natural Resources Defense Council, told the newspaper. "If successful, pretty soon there'll be very little trash left for homeowners to put in their old garbage cans."


While many people have praised the idea, some have raised questions about how composting will work in such a densely populated city. However, other cities such as San Francisco and Seattle, where residents aren't quite so tightly packed, have successfully launched similar programs.


"Pray tell does one do this in a prewar high rise?" one Times reader wrote. "I know that his housekeeper will get right on it but some of us don't have STAFF! The vermin and insect problems will be immense. The mayor doesn't even sweep the streets or keep the drains running smoothly but he is going to have the CITY maintain a timely pick up of rotting food?"


Follow Aimee Picchi on Twitter at @aimeepicchi.


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217Comments
Jun 18, 2013 10:03AM
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I approve of composting but I think your wonderful mayor has lost his mind, literally. I think he is suffering from a mental disease. Where does he come up with these ideas that he can create laws willy nilly  to force people to do ridiculous things and tell them what they can eat and drink. Why do you people elect this idiot?
Jun 18, 2013 9:21AM
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I'm just glad I don't live in that totalitarian cesspool. I feel bad for the 8 million mundane, sleepy, drones in NYC who can't afford housing, have no parking, no personal liberties, live in 2x4 apartments, are taxed and regulated to death and now have a kleptocratic government who's bent on taking total control on every facet of their lives.
Jun 18, 2013 10:02AM
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Good for him.  He needs to stay focused on NY City and stay the hell out of the business of other states where he has absolutely no clue as to the way people there feel and think.  Let the people who elected him put up with his crap.
Jun 18, 2013 10:17AM
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Next on the agenda is telling New Yorkers how and when to wipe their behinds.  lol
Jun 18, 2013 10:23AM
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Composting is not a bad idea but, does his plan include where and how to store rotting food scraps until collected? Does his plan address the inevitable increase in the already out of control rat population that will be a side effect. Man, can't believe that ALL his hair-brained ideas (soda bans and restrictions, trans-fats, smoking, etc.) is why New Yorkers elected him. He thinks he is the mayor AND the chief health nanny.

Thank you Michael Bloomberg for the 10,000th reason NOT to visit New York.

Jun 18, 2013 10:18AM
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bloomberg is a NUT, just a plain ole looney toon  nut case, he really needs to be put in a mental hospital lol,  in a padded cell, he is just a whack job,   mentally unstable also lol
Jun 18, 2013 10:23AM
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Bloomberg should compost himself. It would be an infinitely better world.
Jun 18, 2013 10:04AM
Jun 18, 2013 10:08AM
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This will cause such a stench and mess. When will they either flush the city as it is a toilet or the mayor! 
Jun 18, 2013 10:40AM
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More BIG BROTHER telling US what to do or not do !!!!!!
Jun 18, 2013 10:33AM
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Excellent, summer in the city will be an amazing olfactory experiance,  baking cans of composting waste competing with the smell of urine from the subway and other savoury city smells. I left Manhattan 15 years ago, every time I wistfully wish I was maybe still living there, Nanny Bloomberg gives me the strength that my decision was the right one.
Jun 18, 2013 10:39AM
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another gem of a idea along with his millions spent on so called gun control.could have bought lots of wheelchairs for returning vets with it
Jun 18, 2013 10:28AM
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Why is it that the people in power with a huge amount of money always come up with these ideas? They are the ones that do none of the little tasks, they pay someone to do these things. Just another reason I would never live in a big city with a wonderful mayor such as Bloomberg. (being factitious of course!)
Jun 18, 2013 10:10AM
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He needs to be buried along with the rotting food. Just kidding.
Jun 18, 2013 10:14AM
Jun 18, 2013 10:20AM
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Remake 'Escape from New York' and cast Sheetberg as the Duke. Manhattan already starting to look like in the movie now.
Jun 18, 2013 10:03AM
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"Pray tell does one do this in a prewar high rise?" one Times reader wrote. "I know that his housekeeper will get right on it but some of us don't have STAFF! The vermin and insect problems will be immense. The mayor doesn't even sweep the streets or keep the drains running smoothly but he is going to have the CITY maintain a timely pick up of rotting food?"
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Where do they put the rotting food now? Perhaps separating it would lead to an earlier pickup time for the degradable stuff?
Jun 18, 2013 10:02AM
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It could also double as a feed the homeless program.
Jun 18, 2013 9:54AM
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I heard they are going to use the food waste for improving the treatment of waste water. 
Jun 18, 2013 10:33AM
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ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF THE NOBLES TELLING THE PEASANTS HOW TO LIVE. ALL THE WHILE THE PEASANTS DO THE WORK FOR THE NOBLES.
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