Why should we compost?

America’s waste disposal sites or landfills are rapidly filling up, and yet the volume of waste our society produces continues to increase. While we should strive to consume less, we can also recycle more and thereby reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills.  Recycling is easy, and is everyone’s responsibility to do their part.

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Food scraps, compostable paper (tissues, napkins, soiled paper, paper plates, etc.), and yard trimmings suitable for source-separated composting make up nearly a third of NYC’s residential and institutional waste stream.  Together with industrially sourced compostable materials, they make up 41%, the largest single part of our city’s total waste stream.

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.Moreover, almost half of all residential refuse (i.e. excluding industrial sources) is compostable organic material such as food scraps.  Given that of the 980 apartments in Morningside Gardens at least 900 are occupied at a conservative estimate (some are in transition; unoccupied or up for sale), this equals around 363 TONS annually, or roughly one ton a day!

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By collecting this material under the Food Waste Collection Program, NYC can reduce the amount of materials sent to landfill and incinerators, reducing expensive export costs and greenhouse gas emissions, all while generating a valuable material — compost — that can be used as fertilizer in NYC parks and gardens. Food scraps thus become a valuable renewable resource instead of unrecovered waste.

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Source:  2004-05 NYC Residential and Street Basket Waste Characterization Study, a publication by the New York City Department of Sanitation

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