Full of scrap! City expanding curbside composting to Williamsburg, Downtown, Southern Brooklyn

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It is the big stink!

The city is dramatically expanding its curbside composting pickup program to vast new swathes of Brooklyn over the next year — including Downtown, Williamsburg, and most of Southern Brooklyn — and some local leaders are optimistic that residents will embrace the practice of stockpiling their rotting food scraps with glee.

“I think it’s going to be a welcome addition,” said Peter Bray, the executive director of civic group the Brooklyn Heights Association. “People will have to change their habits but I think that over time they’ll adopt it and there will be strong participat­ion.”

The program will roll out in Williamsburg in May; community boards 2 (Brooklyn Heights, Fort Greene, Clinton Hill) 15 (Gerritsen Beach, Sheepshead Bay, Manhattan Beach), and 13 (Coney Island, Brighton Beach) in June; and 7 (Sunset Park, Windsor Terrace), 11 (Bensonhurst, Gravesend) 12 (Kensington, Midwood) by fall.

The rest of the borough will have to wait until 2018.

Participants will receive a brown bin and small kitchen container for their compostable garbage, including vegetable peels, teabags, and grass cuttings.

But not everyone is thrilled. To accommodate all the new worm food, the Department of Sanitation has deployed new garbage trucks that are divided into separate sections for compost and bulk items — and Bay Ridgites have complained that they contain less room for hefty items and has resulted in junk piling up on the side of local roads.

Now some residents in the new scrap-collecting zones are terrified the same fate is coming to their streets.

“I’m fearful after reading all the stuff about Community Board 10 that I’m going to be riding up and down with mattresses sitting outside,” said Community Board 15 chairwoman Theresa Scavo.

Bay Ridge has had the program since 2014, and Community Board 7’s leader says he’s at least happy the whole district is finally going to be on the same page — even if he’s not necessarily pumped for more bins.

“I don’t know if it’s exciting, but it’s gratifying that we’re going to be one district,” said the board’s district manager Jeremy Laufer.

Greenpointers, which got the scheme in 2015, have complained that the bins made the neighborhood stink and attracted creepy crawlies, although their eco-minded neighbors in Williamsburg have been begging the city to bring the program to their area for years.

And Bray — who lives in Park Slope, which got the program in 2014 — claims smelly scraps and vermin shouldn’t be a problem so long as people keep the lids shut tight.

“I’ve never had any problem personally,” he said. “I think you take reasonable precautions — you keep the lid closed on the recycling pail that’s inside the house and do the same thing with the pail that’s on the outside.

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Rufus Leaking from BH says:
Ah Rats!
March 30, 2017, 8:39 am
Toshiyuki says:
Theresa Scavo isn't the district manager of CB15; she just thinks that she is. And "Brooklyn Heights, Fort Greene, Clinton Hill" are in Community Board 2, not CB1.
March 30, 2017, 10:33 am
Cockroach and Rat says:
Yum, this will be delicious for us! Thank you for serving us a giant buffet of rotting food!
March 31, 2017, 4:16 am
eme from Red Hook says:
This program actually keeps rats and other vermin from feeding off garbage. The bins are animal proof and by keeping all foodstuffs out of regular garbage it makes regular garbage uninteresting to rats etc. It also means your kitchen garbage never smells and it reduces greatly the amount of garbage in it. Less garbage, less work, fewer bags, and no vermin. This has been my experience with this program over the past year.
March 31, 2017, 9:09 am
stan chaz from Greenpoint says:
Did I actually see Williamsburg mentioned?
Can it be?
Has the Brooklyn Newspaper, ala Christopher Columbus, finally discovered North Brooklyn??
Will wonders never cease!
March 31, 2017, 7:56 pm
Matt from Greenpoint says:
Its maggots/flies and the stench that is the worst part of it.
Also, its not proper aerated composting but rather putrid hot fermentation in a dark plastic container. I doubt it has any value whatsoever as compost. And they give you a smaller container so that you begin the process in your apartment.
Building managers who have to clean out the containers deserve a raise!
April 2, 2017, 4:50 pm

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