Target: New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg
Goal: Expand the current food waste compost program in New York City
Each year, Americans send millions of tons of food waste to landfills where it releases the dangerous greenhouse gas, methane, into the atmosphere. Sometimes this food waste fails to decompose at all due to lack of oxygen, and instead simply sits in already overflowing landfills when it could instead be recycled or used to enrich soil for personal or communal gardens.
In New York, a pilot program aimed at reducing food waste through composting was recently launched in Staten Island with high rates of success. The voluntary program was so successful, in fact, that New York Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, has decided to expand the composting project to all five boroughs this year. By 2014, Mayor Bloomberg expects as many as 125,000 homes total to participate in food waste composting.
In a report by the New York Times, Bloomberg revealed his plan to “hire a composting plant to handle 100,000 tons of food scraps per year.” The plant will work to produce biogas, a sustainable and renewable energy source derived from the gas produced when food decomposes. This energy source will then likely be harvested for “electrical generation” for the city. Food waste compost may also be used in local community gardens and will help to reduce the amount of food waste send to landfills each year.
While the program will begin as a voluntary one, it is likely that it will eventually become mandatory, just like the recycling of paper, plastic, glass and other materials. This fact has some New York residents, particularly small business owners, worried. Some have voiced their concern that the program would be an “inconvenience” or costly, while others worry that the program will be inefficient and a “difficulty.” However, the overall benefits of reducing food waste greatly outweigh the slight inconvenience of separating food waste from other garbage. The voluntary Staten Island composting program saw as much as 43 percent participation in the project, with participants asserting that “separating food waste [was] no more difficult than separating plastic or aluminum” from other waste. In fact, such programs already exist in cities like San Francisco and Seattle.
Bloomberg’s plan for a citywide composting program is both innovative and progressive. With as little effort as it takes to recycle other recyclable materials, New York could help to cut down on food waste going to landfills and produce electrical energy for the city. Show your support for this important program.
Dear Mayor Michael Bloomberg,
New York City produces millions of tons of food waste each year, nearly all of which goes to overflowing landfills. This food waste releases greenhouse gases, which contribute to global warming, and takes up space when it is sometimes unable to decompose. Yet, food waste has potential to produce energy, as well as enrich soil for food production.
Your efforts to create a voluntary food waste compost program in Staten Island have proven successful, and your hope to bring this program to the rest of the city is both innovative and highly commendable. Much like San Francisco and Seattle, two cities that already have a food waste compost program in place, this project can help to cut down on total food waste going to landfills each year. Furthermore, it will lead to energy production as well as community enrichment, as composting can contribute to community gardens.
This program, with as little effort as is required to recycle plastics, glass, aluminum and other materials, will help to cut down on food waste and will set an example for other cities to follow.
Thank you for your commitment to this important project.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Quadell via Wikimedia Commons