New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who famously tried to ban the sale of large sodas and other sugary drinks, announced this week he is implementing a citywide composting program modeled after similar food waste programs in San Francisco and Seattle. Homeowners will collect food scraps in containers to be deposited in brown curbside bins. Apartment dwellers will empty their pails of uneaten waste at collection points, as they do now with recycled glass and paper.
While composting would initially be voluntary, officials say it will likely become mandatory by as early as 2016. Where NYC goes so goes America, so what are the components of curbside composting?
Kitchen Compost Pails
For kitchen wastes, you will need to keep a container with a lid and a handle, preferably kept under the sink. Consider using a stainless steel compost pail with air filter, or the ceramic model. If you don't mind occasional smells, you can use an old ice-cream pail in a pinch. Chop up any large chunks before you toss them in.
Compost Pail Liners
When the kitchen compost pail is full, you will need take it out to your curbside bin and toss in the contents. Cleaning the kitchen compost pail of leftover scraps may be more than you want to deal with, so consider biodegradable pail liners like BioBags, EcoLiner, or NorPro.
New York City and other similar programs will provide large bins for curbside pick-up. Like recycling and yard waste, the compost bins just need to be put curbside on the specified day. New York City compost will be picked up by sanitation trucks on Saturdays.
Where Does it Go?
After being processed and further broken down at a compost facility, the compost is used for gardening, soil mitigation, or habitat improvement projects.
While it may be a while before curbside composting reaches your city, you can learn more about composting and how-to build your own backyard compost bin at HowtoCompost.org.