NYC To Try Composting Food Waste


New York City’s mayor, Michael Bloomberg, is looking to try something at least two Wisconsin cities already do: compost food scraps.

During his terms in office, Bloomberg has tried to limit the size of containers for the soda people consume. Now he’s focusing on what residents throw out. According to the New York Times, Bloomberg wants to start mandatory composting of food scraps.

Here in Wisconsin, composting is voluntary in Madison and nearby suburb Fitchburg. Rick Eilertson is the environmental engineer for Fitchburg. He says before the pilot program started with 250 households, 42 percent of what was in the trash could have been composted: mainly food.

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“When they’re properly using the organics collection cart, they don’t need to set their trash out on a weekly basis anymore, both because of volume and because we’re getting the … smellier stuff out of the trash.”

Food composting started in nearby Madison a year earlier, with 550 households and five restaurants. George Dreckman is Madison’s recycling coordinator. He says they hope to go citywide in 2016 if an anaerobic digester is approved. That digester would convert food scraps into biogas, which could power city trucks and provide electricity for municipal buildings, “so this is a waste management project which also generates renewable energy.”

Both Dreckman and Eilertson say shrinking landfill space and costly dumping fees are prompting more cities to look at what can be done with food waste.