Mayor Michael Bloomberg is expanding food composting in all of the five boros in New York City. The expected benefits from food composting are considerable. The program is intended to cut down on trash. Since food is approximately 1/3 of all waste, the cost savings should be considerable. In addition, the new program should avoid ever transporting about 1/4 of the existing waste to city landfills.
A robust food composting program provides many other benefits. For instance, the food composting reduces or eliminates the need for chemical fertilizes. Composting promotes higher crop yields and reconstitutes the soil. The effort to compost revitalizes forests and ecologically delicate habitats. Composting reduces methane accumulation which is associated with landfill activity.
The most obvious applications for composting include roof farms which are spreading across New York City. In addition, high quality compost can be sold to enhance the activities of local growers. The City intends to have at least one or more composting plants online in the near future.
Composting has the potential to be a thriving cottage industry for people who are willing to do the research and cultivate the soil with reconstituted food waste. Decomposition of waste requires the proper balance between greens like leaves which are nitrogen rich and brown matter like wood chips which is carbon rich. In addition, the right amount of water and oxygen is necessary to aerate the pile so that decomposition proceeds at a brisk rate.
Initially, composting should be easier for owners of 1-3 family private houses. Over time, the City will phase the program from a voluntary one to a mandatory requirement. Ultimately, the composting effort may evolve into a potential energy source for city dwellers.
Mayor Bloomberg envisions the program evolving into a full scale effort over the next 4 years. Residents will receive special bins to recycle food wastes into usable compost. Once the program implementation details are ironed out, consideration will be given to making the undertaking a mandatory one for city residents.