Don't throw food scraps away


To the editor:

In these trying times where reform and change appear isolated at the heights of corporate power and political establishment, there are many opportunities for local engagement.

Perhaps too many.

Perhaps so many that any and all lifestyle modifications pile up into a suffocating mess of trends and constraints on simple pleasures.

I’m here to tell you that there’s one more. It’s macro- and micro-biotic, raw and cooked, not vegan, and not only for food items labeled “organic.” It’s about as exciting as folding laundry, if not more so. No quarters needed!

The city’s sanitation department provides rodent-resistant brown bins, outreach, and curbside collection to residential buildings and non-profit organizations in participating neighborhoods. Buildings of all sizes. For free.

Scraping plates and ditching spent food scraps into the stinky trash, no longer. Husky sidewalk rats chewing into plastic trash bags to munch the meat off chicken bones, over. We want your vegetable peels, chicken bones, spoiled yogurt, moldy bread, eggshells, coffee-stained paper towels, dead houseplants, fall leaves. The list goes on.

It’s part of a citywide effort for New York City to become more environmentally sustainable. New York currently sends its trash to a host of recipients across the eastern seaboard: landfills, waste-to-energy facilities and incinerators. About a third of that garbage can be recycled through the curbside composting program.

The material we collect skips the breezy ride to landfills in South Carolina and Ohio, where it would emit toxic greenhouse gases. Instead, it stays in New York and New Jersey, where it’s made into compost and renewable energy.

The outreach team for the Make Compost, Not Trash campaign is available to help you, so you’ll help us.

Currently, our outreach efforts are focused in three community boards in Brooklyn (CB2, CB6 and CB7) and Queens (CB2, CB5 and CB8) as well as Bronx Community Board 8. But that doesn’t mean we are limited to those areas. An outreach team of 15 people covering the whole city? You’re right. We need all the help we can get.

We need you.

Make the change and put composting on the list of life’s simple pleasures. 

We hope that you’ll recycle your food scraps, food-soiled paper and yard waste. Tell your friends and neighbors about it, too. And if you’d like to help us spread the word of compost citywide, volunteer with us to make New York City more sustainable.

Hope to see you there.

Mike Stinavage

The author is assistant coordinator for the Make Compost, Not Trash campaign with the city’s sanitation department.

Have an opinion? Share your thoughts as a letter to the editor. Make your submission to letters@riverdalepress.com. Please include your full name, phone number (for verification purposes only), and home address (which will not be published).
Mike Stinavage,