Composting vs Budget Cuts

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These past months have been a whirlwind, and while the city has been battered by Covid-19, and many lives have been lost or forever altered, the number of new cases is dropping. Good news delivered late, but we’ll take it. One of the less talked about effects of Covid-19 (unless you run in composting circles) is that the city’s decreased revenue has resulted in budget cuts that will alter our waste stream for years. What I mean is that the Department of Sanitation no longer offers curbside organics pickup or drop-off composting sites. We knew this was coming. We petitioned, we wrote, we called, we demonstrated, and we lost this round.

The city has seen this type of defunding before, as after 9/11 when recycling services were suspended due to budget constraints. An essay could be written on the way such policies and budgets are built or dismantled but let’s set that aside for a moment. After all, there’s composting to process and chit-chat won’t stir or sift it.

There are still places where New Yorkers can compost in a post-funding world. This new tracker offered by A Healthy Blueprint shows you where you can take your food scraps. I’m proud to say that my composting garden is on the list, but I’m even more proud at the large number of concerned neighbors who have rallied to keep our compost project in operation.

My neighborhood needs more access to composting services. I’m happy to say that we’ll soon be able to announce the reopening of another compost drop-off site. Hopefully other sites will follow. I believe we have the beginnings of a compost coalition in “Upstate” Manhattan. It’s a shame that such a coalition is needed, but if it is necessary, I think we’ve got the people to pull it off.

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