Organic composting pick-ups start April 28 in Ridge

The long-touted organic composting pickups will expand into Bay Ridge beginning Monday, April 28, and into Sunset Park beginning Monday, May 12.

Twice a week, the voluntary program will see city Department of Sanitation (DSNY) workers collect homeowners’ organic scraps—including food scraps, food-soiled paper, and leaf and yard waste— in addition to regular garbage and recyclables.

Organics bins will be a distinct brown color, to keep them visually separate from the blue recycling bins and general trash cans.

So far, resident reactions have mostly entailed a lot of questions, said Josephine Beckmann, district manager of Community Board 10.

“People are thinking it might smell and are concerned about the odor, so they are relieved that [pickups] are twice a week, while some people are calling to say they’re absolutely excited and thrilled,” Beckmann explained. “A lot of people are also wondering what happens if someone steals their pail, but I understand there’s some kind of chip in there.”

Small residential buildings (nine units or fewer) and private homes in the pick-up area will receive brown collection containers from DSNY to store food scraps, plants, yard waste and paper that has food residue on it until pick-up.

Residential buildings with 10 or more units are not automatically included in the pilot, but are encouraged to enroll on a voluntary basis by filling out the inquiry form at

According to Beckmann, “there are some multiple-dwelling owners wondering about the challenges when some tenants are interested while others are not,” noted Beckmann of buildings with six to nine units. “Right now, it’s voluntary, so it’s okay, but they’re wondering what would be involved with compliance if there’s a transition.”

In addition to Bay Ridge and Sunset Park, the pilot program will also roll out to an estimated 70,000 households throughout Windsor Terrace (May 12 start date), Park Slope (May 19 start date), and Queens’ Glendale (June 2 start date) and Middle Village/Maspeth (June 16 start date).

Reception was positive during the initial pilot program in Greenwood Heights and parts of Windsor Terrace, which kicked off in September of 2013.

The goal of the program is to save more than $85 million per year—the amount spent in 2012—from exporting organics to out-of-state landfills, according to the DSNY. The compost will also be used as “a natural fertilizer” and will hopefully help reduce the city’s greenhouse gas emissions, according to DSNY.

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