Going Green-wood! City rolls out compost pick-up in Greenwood Heights, Windsor Terrace

Going Green-wood! City rolls out compost pick-up in Greenwood Heights, Windsor Terrace
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

A new city plan that asks residents of Greenwood Heights and Windsor Terrace to separate food scraps from their trash has many wondering just how far they’ll go to go green.

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 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, one of several residents we polled who had the option to turn her food scraps into fertilizer for gardens and parks, but decided not to. “It takes a long enough time to recycle what you got.”

For those who are eager to scrape their plates, the agency will provide 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. Under the program, which has already been rolled out in parts of Staten Island and the Bronx, residents will collect waste such as 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.

Makon feared that all leaving all those food scraps outside will attract raccoons who already root through trash in the neighborhoods between Greenwood Cemetery and Brooklyn’s backyard. But a spokeswoman for the Department of Sanitation said the special bins have a latch that shuts them tight 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 animals.

For now, residents will not be fined for throwing out their pizza crusts with their cigarette butts, but sanitation officials hope to see composting spread and will be peeking into people’s cans to measure the mess. Mayor Bloomberg wants separating organic trash to be made mandatory, but whether it happens 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.

The city already subsidizes compost drop-offs at weekly farmers markets throughout New York.

Reach reporter Natalie Musumeci at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-4505. Follow her at twitter.com/souleddout.
Spoil alert: The city’s Department of Sanitation is rolling out its voluntary composting program on the above-highlighted streets in Greenwood Heights and Windsor Terrace starting on Oct. 7. Food waste pickups will occur weekly.
Department of Sanitation

More from Around New York