To the editor:
I am very dismayed that the beginning of May marked the last time I put out the brown bin to recycle compost and yard waste. I realize there is a fiscal budget crunch in New York City, but climate change is a crisis that hasn’t gone away during the pandemic.
Every day this past year, New Yorkers filled sanitation’s green and brown compost bins with 308,600 pounds of food scraps, gardening waste, coffee grounds and filters, paper napkins, etc. Rather than being shipped hundreds of miles and landfilled in impoverished communities, those 308,600 pounds — in less than six months, and via that most natural process of decomposition — became the totally low-cost, 100 percent organic material that now enriches soil in parks and green spaces of every kind citywide.
Instead, that waste will be destined for landfills.
Landfill gas is a natural byproduct of the decomposition of organic material in landfills. Landfill gas is composed of roughly 50 percent methane (the primary component of natural gas), 50 percent carbon dioxide, and a small amount of non-methane organic compounds.
Methane is a potent greenhouse gas 28 to 36 times more effective than carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the atmosphere over a 100-year period. Post-9/11, Mayor Michael Bloomberg curtailed all recycling — until the discovery that the cost of transport and landfill fees cost $80 for each unrecycled ton.
Why can’t we learn from that mistake and do the right thing? Mayor Bill de Blasio, you promised New York City zero waste. Deliver on that promise and restore the compost program funding.
It’s a fiscal responsibility as well as a social responsibility to mitigate the release of greenhouse gases in landfills.