Bay Ridge to start composting table scraps in April

Composting comes to Bay Ridge

The Brooklyn Paper
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The city wants your table scraps.

Bay Ridge will be the next laboratory for the city’s new food-waste recycling program — which the Department of Sanitation says will mean less trash and more cash.

Starting in April, all single family houses and rental buildings of nine or fewer units between 74th and 101st streets and from Shore Road to Seventh Avenue will get brown 13- or 21-gallon bins for their food waste — and Ridgites will be asked to separate their kitchen scraps just like they do with recyclables.

Sorting out leftovers — as well as food-stained paper plates, napkins, coffee filters, and tea bags — along with existing plastic and metal recycling measures, will mean almost no actual trash to drag to the curb, according to Deputy Sanitation Commissioner Ron Gonen.

“You’re not going to have that much refuse left, and that’s our goal,” Gonen told Community Board 10 on Jan. 13.

It’s an early phase in a plan that Gonen says will slash the amount of trash the city pays to bury in out-of-state landfills, saving $85 million a year.

“We’re linking up the environmental movement with economic development,” Gonen said.

The city will transport the putrefying table scraps by train, truck, or barge either to a processing facility upstate, or to an experimental digester on the Newtown Creek. The upstate facility will take the waste for free and convert it to compost to sell to farmers. The Newtown Creek facility will let the moldy victuals decompose in sealed chambers and capture burnable natural gas — which the city hopes one day to convert into fuel for Sanitation trucks. The evnetual objective is to have all the rotting fodder processed into gas inside the city’s metro area, saving even more money.

The 18-month Ridge pilot program currently calls for private houses to get 13-gallon bins to wheel out to the curb once a week. Apartment buildings of up to nine units will receive three or four 21-gallon bins — plus a small kitchen collector for each individual houshold, so that tenants can load up their old food and dump it in the larger containers. Residents can request more and larger bins for free, and buildings of 10 or more units can ask the city consider adding them to the program.

A bin full of moldy food might seem like a rat magnet in the making, but Gonen assured CB10 that the carriers are heavy-duty, with latching, animal-proof lids.

“Nothing’s getting into this thing,” Gonen assured the board.

The city will launch a mailer and doorhanger campaign in the next few months to raise awareness about the experiment. The program is entirely voluntary, and there are no penalties for not participating. But Sanitation selected Bay Ridge as a testing ground because of the neighborhood’s high rate of household recycling.

“Government is usually risk-averse, they want to go slowly, go where it’s likely to work,” said Gonen.

The board backed the plan, but requested two things — that the city include the entire area the panel represents, spanning from 62nd Street to 101st Street, and Shore Road to 14th Avenue, and that the bins get picked up twice weekly. The board was especially concerned about the potential for unpleasant odors in the warmer months if Sanitation only comes by once a week.

“It’s not going to be pretty in August,” said panel member Doris Cruz.

Reach reporter Will Bredderman at or by calling (718) 260-4507. Follow him
Updated 10:16 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

diehipster from Scalping Sawyers says:

Shouldn't this be piloted with the hipsters up in Bushpointburg??? Ahh, I guess not; the city only needs hipsters to help with rezoning and development and other gentrification issues. They can't be trusted with a bin and the responsibility of putting their discarded hummus, wilted cruelty free kale and fair trade tea bags in it.

This is such a dumb idea. I don't care how sealed-tight they say these bins are - the birds, rats, cats and bugs will find a way in. With 100 ' s of these bins, people will forget to lock them, kids will open them and spill them, homeless people will open them. Bay ridge is going to be one smelly place this summer. Thanks you f***ing hipsters for putting this idea into city officials heads.

There should be a beard and Midwest drivers license tax. $5 per beard and license per month; should bring in a billion per year.
Jan. 15, 2014, 6:46 am
Jay from Bay Ridge says:
shouldn't it a pilot test for restaurants first.. people most likely keep food leftover for tomorrow's lunch.
Jan. 15, 2014, 8:13 am
Susan from Bay Ridge says:
I don't know. Our regular garbage is full of food, but somehow this is unappealing. But hooray for Bay Ridge for being good recyclers, I guess.

Didn't the do try this somewhere else in Brooklyn? Why doesn't the article say how that worked out?
Jan. 15, 2014, 9:50 am
ty from pps says:
Again... It's amazing how New Yorkers think they are sooooo special. This sort of thing is commonplace in so many cities. I lived in Seattle for a couple years a DECADE ago and compost collection had been going on for ages.

And, of course, Mr. Diehipster is the poster child for the whiny "we can't do that, this is NYC" crap. Yeah, recycling, composting, reducing waste and waste-to-fuel generation is a hipster idea... Jesus give me strength.
Jan. 15, 2014, 10:17 am
John from Bay Ridge says:
This is a good idea. Ultimately it will reduce landfill use, and disposal costs.
Jan. 15, 2014, 10:29 am
common sense from bay ridge says:
Don't worry about bugs and rats DH, the raccoons will the ones feasting on the leftovers. Just like they already do with household trash.
Jan. 15, 2014, 11:15 am
Ted from BayRidge says:
I don't think this one has anything to do with hipsters. If I recall, the thing about hipsters is they don't care about anything, other than looking like other hipsters.

Composting food wouldn't work in Williamsburg, they're too lazy.

As for the beard and license tax, what about people who moved here from Iowa and have a NYC license now. How will you tax them? Or do they just get a beard tax? But, lots of guys in Bay Ridge have beards (and we're FROM Bay Ridge).

I don't think your tax idea is any good.
Jan. 15, 2014, 11:49 am
Jimmy from Park Slope says:
Those bins have been around Park Slope for several months now. You can see them along 15th street (South Slope). Hipsters don't live in Park Slope (it's birthers here).
Jan. 15, 2014, 11:50 am
NYPD from NYPD says:
Can we bury diehipster's tired hipster comments on the bins too?
Jan. 15, 2014, 2:27 pm
Rufus Leaking from BH says:
Ah Rats!

Ah for the good old days when it was fed to the hogs in Secaucus, NJ -

Can't wait for the stinking, dripping fly infested slop getting trucked thru the streets.

Forward Comrades! The next thing they will be doing is taxing you for the food you don't eat.

Ty lived in Seattle?

I'd have never guessed!
Jan. 15, 2014, 3:20 pm
ty from pps says:
Yeah, Rufus, I've live other places... imagine?! I guess you would never dare such a bold thing, right?
Jan. 15, 2014, 5 pm
Rufus Leaking from BH says:
And if there EVER was an EXPERT on compost, it's Ty.
Jan. 15, 2014, 7:05 pm
Person from Brooklyn says:
Layabout locals like Diehipster don't use garbage cans at all, much less recycling or composting. They toss whatever they don't want wherever they feel like it. See for yourself who litters in your neighborhood -- it's not hipsters, that's for sure. That's how the vermin and stench issues arise, not from well-designed tightly sealed composting bins.
Jan. 15, 2014, 8:26 pm
Phantom from Bay Ridge says:
This is an atrocious idea on a practical level.

Many homeowners leave for work early in the morning, and they don't return home until late at night.

If the trash is picked up at 10am lets say, the brown bins will be unattended on the street for 8 hours or so.

If some of these bins are stolen or moved by pranksters - which will happen-- will the city give people new ones? I doubt it.

This idea looks great on paper, but it was obviously crafted by someone who's unfamiliar with the ways of NYC's busy streets.

This policy will create more problems than it solves. Take it to the bank.
Jan. 16, 2014, 12:52 pm
ty from pps says:
Phantom --
How many time have you lost your garbage containers? Pranksters roaming the streets with them?
Jan. 16, 2014, 1:55 pm
Phantom from Bay Ridge says:
Most people use plastic bags and have done so for a long time.

If the trash is picked up when the homeowner is away at work, cans don't work. That's why they don't use them in NYC for the most part. Look around.
Jan. 16, 2014, 2:14 pm
Oliver from Sunset Park says:
They've been doing this in Windsor Terrace for a couple of months now. It doesn't seem to have caused a problem. I don't get why people think this will be grosser/smellier than regular garbage.
Jan. 16, 2014, 4:41 pm
common sense from bay ridge says:
It's gonna be all the same stuff that has been thrown in the trash forever. It's just going to be in a different can. BFD.
Jan. 16, 2014, 6:49 pm
Tosqanisha from New Lots says:
This is a garbage story.
Jan. 17, 2014, 6:05 am
Phantom from Bay Ridge says:

But most people in single and two family houses haven't used cans for 10-20 years.
Jan. 17, 2014, 9:52 am
Phantom from Bay Ridge says:

A NY Daily News article from October describes the program as being voluntary.

If it is voluntary, , then it may work, for those households where there is someone to take the slop can back into the house during the day ( which isn't everybody! )
Jan. 17, 2014, 10:09 am
ty from pps says:
Phantom --
It's interesting that Bay Ridge is so special.... My neighborhood uses garbage cans. And everyone works. They take their garbage cans from the curb when they get home. I guess we don't have these horrible "pranksters" like in Bay Ridge that enjoys wandering around the city with garbage cans.

(Though, pardon me for questioning your integrity, this does sound like more of a bunch of whiny excuses because you are oh-so-scared of change and anything new... or just laziness... or just the usual deep-seated psychological disease very common around these parts -- "NYC is so damn special. Even though it works *everywhere* else, there's no chance it could work here!!")
Jan. 17, 2014, 1:09 pm
Oliver from Sunset Park says:
When I walk through Windsor Terrace (I work in the neighborhood), all of the single family homes have these new bins, lined up right next to their GARBAGE CANS, which I see pretty consistently outside of most homes. So, Phantom, where does this assertion that "most people in single and two family houses haven't used cans for 10-20 years." come from? Mt anecdotal experience seems to indicate the exact opposite.

Also, while the pilot program started out as voluntary, it seems that just about everyone has them now, so voluntary or not, it hasn't caused a problem, either with odor, rats or "pranksters".
Jan. 17, 2014, 4:17 pm
Pat D from Bay Ridge says:
This is insane. I spend way too much time washing out items to be recycled and I know that my water bill goes up up up as a result! My property taxes are going up as well. Will the City pay to expand my little landing to house an additional can? Give me a break. Then there is the issue of bottle/can collectors who throw the lid on the sidewalk or under nearest car. Who will stop them from opening the brown can? Can someone follow them around and enforce some sort of law against that? If there are refundable recycles it is trespassing and petty larceny to remove from landing - not curb. If tickets were given for this there would be a great deal going back to the city. It seems like its pick and choose. What else is new?
Jan. 18, 2014, 10:43 pm
Completely fed up from Bay Ridge says:
I thought this was not only a trial, but also voluntary ????? Big Brother you suck !
So now residents have to do the work that the city should be doing. More and more the ignorant leaders of the city come up with plans that create problems. Now you have a Bio can to clean. More water usage and higher bills. It will be a burden for older folks to lug it back and forth. The sanitation crews will have to exert additional energy lifting these monstrosities. Spillage by sanitation crews will be left on the streets, as it is now. If you want to save water and line the —— can, you will have to buy bio plastic or paper bags. That's additional money out of your pocket. Go ahead and Google their prices !
This city is doomed. Those that relocated are the smart ones. But this compost plan will put the frosting on the cake, more and more NYC citizens are fed up with the high taxes . The numbers of homeowners that have relocated away from NYC is about to increase.
It was once, a long time ago a great place......that's history.
April 24, 2014, 10:02 am
Bay Ridge is my home from Read aboe says:
I read through a lot of the posts here and I find is immature the responses to each other. Ok, now that I got that out of the way. Many feel nervous upon change and that's quite alright and we all have a right to voice it as I am about to. My concern is, I live in a small building so we have many apartments with families that exceed the appropriate amount and I see one lonely little bin in front. I have never recieved the smaller can for my apartment to bin it. Perhaps the people downstairs stoles those, we do have an odd family downstairs that steals anything that isn't nailed to the ground. They are gross with the regular garbage and don't respect the property as it is, so I can only imagine the issues we will have here with this. Also, I am disabled and alone, I don't live on the first floor and I was thinking, what about others in worse shape than I am that have to deal with this? Maybe it won't be so bad in that dept but also, think about this, we have to keep piling up left overs for some amount of days before we bin it outside. I fear we will have infestation issues and the smell is going to be horrendous. I have thought about maybe making a spot in the fridge and put it in there and take it out cold but who wants to keep rubbish in the fridge? I think its' all great but in buildings, is this really appropriate?
April 26, 2014, 1:59 am
Mary from Bay Ridge says:
Pail went missing during recycling pick-up day. Do I dare use my neighbors' pails? Is a replacement
Aug. 23, 2014, 2:52 pm

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