Just in time for Earth Day, New York City announced that it was suspending the popular organics recycling program. What a waste! The composting program needed improvements, but it should not have been cancelled. The benefits of separating organic waste, such as food scraps, yard trimmings, and solid paper, from the trash are manifold: fewer rats, less air pollution, less soil contamination, healthier lives, and cleaner waterways. Organics collection isn’t just about composting; it is about public-health and we need to keep focus on long term public health even as we address the current public health emergency.
In the same announcement, the City also announced it is stopping e-waste collection and discontinuing SAFE Disposal events, which safely remove toxic materials such as solvents, automotive, flammables, and electronics — anything that says “Danger” or “Poison” — from the waste stream, air, and water.
To make matters worse, the City also hasn’t issued any clear guidance on the safe disposal of such toxic waste as expired medicines and blown CFL bulbs.
The Sanitation Department has heroically pivoted to supporting the City during the COVID-19 crisis, and we thank them for that. But now it’s up to us to:
1. Step up our own efforts to compost in our apartments, courtyards, and backyards. Join the Zoom event on May 14th to find out how!