During his time as mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg has led large-scale health and environmental initiatives, from limiting soda consumption and instating smoke bans in parks to leading a campaign to build green roofs and enforce recycling. As one of his final projects as mayor, Bloomberg has just announced a food-recycling program that will first be followed on a voluntary basis and later become mandatory.
Getting the entirety of NYC on board with the food-recycling program would save the the city a considerable amount of money especially given that last year, the city spent a total of $336 million disposing of residential trash by exporting it to landfills in other states. Additionally, composted food waste will be beneficial for the purpose of converting it into energy, a process that Mayor Bloomberg explained would be much cheaper than sending it to a landfill.
Some citizens, especially those residing in smaller living areas, worry that recycling food waste will bring unwanted visits from bugs and rats, a high possibility particularly for those who already have a pest control problem. However, the city is so serious about instating this food-recycling program that it has published a comprehensive guide that includes tips and details on composting materials and how to to troubleshoot any issues that may arise in the process.
People who criticize the program may argue that the city as a whole, despite having the threat of being fined if it doesn't separate recyclables from trash, does a generally poor job of recycling. Having only a 15% recycling rate, NYC certainly could and should be making greater efforts to become greener. Though the city’s recycling rate may be low, observing how other cities such as San Francisco and Seattle have implemented food-recycling programs and have seen great decreases in the amount of waste sent to landfills should serve as motivation and reassurance for New Yorkers.
New York, too, can and should make the decision to become greener. Although composting food waste may at first seem like a cumbersome and tedious process to navigate, if given enough time, it can be a process that the city gets used to and continues carrying out for the sake of taxpayer dollars and the future of the environment.