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Monday, June 05, 2017

How New York Is Turning Food Waste Into Compost and Gas

New Yorkers already have blue and green bins for recycling glass, metal, paper and plastic. But now brown bins for organic waste are starting to appear all over the city. These plastic totems are part of the city’s multimillion-dollar campaign to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions and reliance on landfills, and to turn food scraps and yard waste into compost and, soon, clean energy.

In the 19th century, the city had a simple method for dealing with organic rubbish: It enlisted scavenging swine to nose through the gutters for leftovers. Now, the city is employing the primal chemistry of decay.

About 14 million tons of waste are thrown out each year. It costs the city almost $400 million annually just to ship what it collects from homes, schools and government buildings (by rail, barge or truck) to incinerators or landfills as far away as South Carolina. (In addition, dozens of private companies put trucks on the road to take away refuse from office buildings and businesses.)

The largest single portion of the trash heap is organics, or things that were once living. That apple core, that untouched macaroni salad, that slice of pizza and the greasy paper plate it was served on are heavy with moisture, which makes shipping expensive. As they decompose, they release methane, a greenhouse gas.



Anonymous said...

It's what every municipality should be doing now, and should have been doing for the past forever. What was thrown into a pile and forgotten about is now coming back to haunt our pocketbooks and our environment.

There are city partnerships all over the country with agriculture that compost food and other organic waste for soil amendment (think turning sand into soil), mulch and fertilizer that isn't damned by the EPA (like chicken manure).

The time for burying everything in a huge pile is over. Put what we can into doing some good instead of what it's doing now.

Anonymous said...

Soylent Green

Anonymous said...

Poultry manure does not have to go through costly repurposing. It is perfect organic fertilizer in its current state. However, because the lower shore counties naturally have a high phosphorous content, poultry manure should be relocated to northern eastern shore counties who are delighted to have the low cost organic poultry manure as fertilizer.

Anonymous said...

Hardy organic 12:08. That manure is the worst. The corn, soy bean etc in other areas put the Eastern Shore's to shame. Not only that if it's used on crops humans eat it has to be very bad for the humans because the chickens aren't eating a diet they were intended to eat. Like those chickens themselves. They really aren't even fit to feed to dogs. Humans were meant to eat chickens but the chickens were meant to eat other things besides feed ie plants, bugs, worms etc. This is why everyone is sick with something or other. The food most people eat is poison and is slowly killing them.