Suspending NYC’s composting program is a mistake



Basmalla Attia

New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced a stop to the expansion of the organics recycling program. A huge loss accompanies this decision, which he disclosed in his first spending plan when running for New York City’s mayor. It’s problematic that during his campaign, he pushed for environmental action but it isn’t reflected in his current decisions.

Composting is a process that converts plants and leaves into organic soil, changing this waste into something useful. Composting has numerous benefits for the environment, including keeping the soil moist, reducing water, conserving landfill space and creating organic fertilizers.

Composting can also create clean biogas, bringing New York closer to its climate targets, and it might save taxpayers $100 million annually.

After understanding this, it can be seen why the expansion of a program like the organic recycling program is vital to New York City and a prominent step to combat the march for climate change.

Adams has justified his decisions by arguing that people’s low participation doesn’t justify the expenses of the program. He said the suspension would generate the city $27.5 million in savings.

However, this news comes across as quite nostalgic to when former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio made a very similar announcement during his time and also justified the decision by announcing that costs outweigh benefits.

At the time, Adams was a strong proponent of this program, and he called De Blasio’s decision a “mistake,”. — It looks like Adams is making the same mistake now.

After robust changes to counter climate change in New York and at the last global summit, COP 26, which aimed to counter the adverse effects of climate change, one of United States’ major cities is taking a step backward.

In a city with a surging population of up to 8.8 million, this causes more consumption, hence an increased emission of methane gas.

When Adams was campaigning, he should have noticed this issue with the program and acknowledged his plans for discontinuation from the beginning so that citizens can elect someone who can deliver on important issues like this one.

A candidate that does not deliver the very same promises they campaigned on is hard to trust and should be held accountable for his undelivered promises.

Adams later added that the city’s current composting system was broken and mentioned that using diesel-powered trucks to pick up the recycled material of the few participating in the program defeats the purpose of it.

Environmental experts have noted that without this organic recycling program, zero waste in landfills by 2030 is impossible.

Aside from the environmental benefits, there will also be health and sanitary benefits.

Yet within the realms of composting too, some neighborhoods suffer more than others.

A study found that 304 commercial garbage trucks pass per hour in the South Bronx, and the concentration of asthma-inducing pollutants is seven times higher in these neighborhoods. Composting would decrease these health concerns.

The city’s residential garbage consists of 34% of organic waste, according to The New York Times.

If New Yorkers compost, the city would be keeping these wastes out of the landfill, whereas if they were left there, they would emit methane. Additionally, it would reduce the attraction to rodents, as organic wastes are put in plastic bins.

Its repeated suspension notes the lack of seriousness the city officials are taking this program. Instead of the increased suspension, the mayor should be more focused on increasing participation and instead of making the city start a point zero again with each suspension.

Mandating the program would be the most effective way to increase participation and to get out of it as many benefits as we can.

Also, it will make people committed to the goal to address this crucial issue. More people will take environmental issues seriously during a time where we need such increased awareness to combat climate change and normalize taking care of the environment.