August 17, 2022

NYC Rolls out Curbside Composting

As covered by Waste Dive last week, New York City is pushing the national envelope on curbside composting services. The largest city in the world by area, and the largest in the US by population, New York’s move to provide free curbside composting for Queens residents is quite literally bigger than just a city composting program. By making the investment to roll out curbside compost to 2 million Queens residents, NYC serves as a bellwether for the future of the service.

The free curbside composting program in Queens has several features that likely portend the general direction of similar services elsewhere. First, residents do not need to sign up for service- they are enrolled by default- with the goal of reach a broader base of participation outside of “hardcore” environmentalists. Second, it targets communities that are more demographically diverse, attempting to reduce inequities in access to services that improve community health and wellbeing. And finally, the program accepts food waste in any closed container, lowering the barrier to entry for many people.

As interest in sustainable materials management and equitable access to public services grows, CIRT looks forward to becoming a player in the national conversation. Our real-time database of materials accepted curbside currently focuses on recycling programs, but can easily adapt to cover curbside composting as well, allowing retailers and consumers to better understand the end-of-life for organic and inorganic products. The spatial nature of our dataset also allows us to overlay access to curbside recycling collection with demographic information. Through this kind of overlay analysis, we can look at trends in environmental justice and identify areas where greater access is needed.

To read more about the Queens, New York curbside composting program check out this article from Waste Dive.