With extra composting choices accessible this yr, metropolis officers and environmentalists are urging New Yorkers to compost their Thanksgiving leftovers as a substitute of tossing them within the trash.
The amount of trash in New York Metropolis surges every year in the course of the week after Thanksgiving as weary diners ditch their leftovers, making it one of many busiest instances of the yr for rubbish collectors.
Final November, the town’s Division of Sanitation picked up 51,510 tons of trash per week, in accordance to the division. That determine dipped to 48,952 tons in the course of the week of Thanksgiving — however grew to 54,248 tons of refuse the next week as individuals returned from their vacation travels or threw out leftovers crammed into their fridges.
Vincent Gragnani, a spokesperson for the sanitation division, stated there’s hope for much less of a post-Thanksgiving purge this yr, thanks partly to the latest growth of the town’s compost pickup program to all of Queens.
A lift in composting within the metropolis may have main environmental advantages to New Jersey residents, stated Marisa DeDominicis, government director of the advocacy group Earth Matter, which promotes group composting. That’s as a result of a lot of the town’s rubbish — together with meals scraps thrown within the trash — is incinerated in New Jersey.
“Food scraps that are not getting composted in New York City are really at the detriment of other people that we don’t want to think about,” stated DeDominicis. “If people could come in touch with that, and if they could realize that their actions really do have a negative impact… I think more people would compost.”
Listed here are the composting choices for New York Metropolis residents, which range by neighborhood:
For New Yorkers with curbside pickup
For residents of Queens and 7 areas within the Bronx, Brooklyn and Manhattan the place the town affords curbside compost pickup, all natural waste ought to go into both the brown bins supplied by the sanitation division or into devoted bins labeled as compost. And that features turkey bones.
“We remind those who receive our curbside composting service that we accept all forms of food waste, including meat and dairy, as well as food-soiled paper,” stated Gragnani. “So yes, that turkey carcass can go right into the brown bin with any leftover bits of stuffing or green bean casserole that go uneaten in the days following the holiday.”
For everybody else
However there are different choices for residents of different neighborhoods who need to hold their Thanksgiving scraps out of the landfill, like the town’s new “Smart Bins” in Astoria and Decrease Manhattan that take all meals waste, together with turkey bones and different meat scraps.
There are additionally round 200 group compost drop-off websites, together with the GrowNYC websites usually discovered at farmers markets across the metropolis.
Justin Inexperienced, head of the environmental nonprofit Large Reuse, stated the organizers of group gardens are sometimes keen to take compost and meals scraps.
Verify if the composting web site will settle for meat scraps
Nevertheless, most group composting teams received’t take leftover Thanksgiving turkeys as a result of they don’t have the fitting gear to deal with meat and bone scraps, stated Christine Datz-Romero, government director of the LES Ecology Heart, which runs 20 compost drop-off websites.
“A lot of the locations that collect food scraps are just not set up to handle those materials. You really need a very robust technology to handle it. And so many places are not equipped to do that,” stated Datz-Romero. “You really don’t want to attract rodents and other critters to your pile and the likelihood of you doing that just really increases by adding meat products.”
Separate out non-organic trash
If a composting web site does take meat and bones, sanitation officers stated it’s nonetheless essential to guarantee no non-organic waste makes its approach into compost bins. That features plastic turkey wrappers and luggage of giblets.
DeDominicis stated she retains a separate steel bin in her kitchen to gather her household’s meals scraps. “I think the main thing is just to come up with the simple solutions, such as putting your scraps in a freezer so they don’t start to be smelly,” she stated.
Contemplate making much less meals
Datz-Romero stated composting ought to be the ultimate possibility to assist scale back waste on Thanksgiving, calling it a “back-end” answer. She steered New Yorkers attempt “to plan for really enough food for everybody to enjoy, without having necessarily too much left over” as a substitute of throwing away mountains of mashed potatoes and stuffing.
Sanitation officers agreed, pointing to the roughly 8 million kilos of meals waste and different natural materials New Yorkers throw within the trash every day, which makes up a couple of third of the town’s residential waste.
Decreasing consumption to begin with would assist minimize down on waste as effectively, stated Gragnani.
“Most importantly, we hope that New Yorkers do not waste food this holiday season. Enjoy your leftovers and, if you find you’ve bought too many groceries, consider donating some to a food bank,” he stated.