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June 13, 2023


man hand throws garbage into a organic container. Vector illustration in flat style


The list of materials that New Yorkers must recycle, which already includes glass, plastic, paper, and cardboard, is now expanding to include food scraps and yard debris.

a veto-proof majority of the city council has approved citywide curbside pickup of organic garbage. Starting this October, the program will progressively roll out to all of the boroughs, starting with Brooklyn and Queens. Staten Island and the Bronx will follow in March 2024, and Manhattan will follow in October. The plan will affect everyone who lives in a city, with the exception of the roughly 400,000 people who dwell in public housing.

The required initiative will make brown bins a common sight in urban areas. It occurs while the administration of Mayor Eric Adams attempts to gradually implement a voluntary citywide composting program. The program is now only available in Queens, though it will expand to Brooklyn in October. However, environmentalists have long lobbied for an obligatory system to encourage wider participation and make it more financially viable.

According to the city, approximately one-third of the household garbage in the five boroughs is organic stuff, which includes food leftovers and yard waste. To reduce New York’s carbon footprint to net zero by 2050, more of those items must be composted rather than thrown in landfills, where they produce the greenhouse gas methane.

New York has lagged behind other significant American cities that have long required its residents to compost. In 1996, San Francisco became the first city to offer a significant program for collecting food scraps. It is now a requirement for city residents there, as well as in Seattle, Los Angeles, and other cities.