Cities are Getting to Zero

IMG_3553 resizedNumerous news media re-reported a New York Times post that NYC Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg is now advocating for a city-wide composting program to be effective for the entire city by 2015-2016.

“The residential program will initially work on a voluntary basis, but officials predict that within a few years, it will be mandatory.  New Yorkers who do not separate their food scraps could be subject to fines, just as they are currently if they do not recycle plastic, paper or metal.

“The administration plans to announce shortly that it is hiring a composting plant to handle 100,000 tons of food scraps a year. That amount would represent about 10 percent of the city’s residential food waste.”

As I was reading the Times post, I remembered hearing a PBS segment earlier this year that San Francisco’s mandatory composting law is designed to get it to zero waste.  This is not a recent event; San Francisco has required residents to separate food waste and recyclables since 2009.

Roughly 80% of the U.S. population lives in cities.  Recycling is so ridiculously simple and so easy that I don’t understand why it needs to be encouraged.  You have a box or a bottle or a bag or a coffee cup in your hand, and you have a choice.  Place it in the recycling bin, or throw it away to live on as landfill.

Composting requires, perhaps, one more step in that food scraps take a walk out to the back yard for placement in the composting bin, which gets stirred every now and then.  A better fertilizer for next year’s garden doesn’t exist.

As efficient and widely available as recycling and composting are, we have no excuse.  If San Francisco is getting to zero and 9 million vertically-challenged New Yorkers can do it, so can we.  Yes?

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