In New York City, organic waste accounts for about 34 percent of garbage and food waste is the largest portion of the municipal waste stream (2017 Waste Characterization Study). However, following COVID-19, the Department of Sanitation’s budget was slashed by $106 million, which included $24.5 million of funding for organics recycling.
Resident Vivian Lin has jumped into action to fill the void. She created a composting service called Groundcycle. For a small fee residents could provide her with kitchen scraps and yard waste to recycle and for an additional fee she would provide them with produce from local farmers. Her business is in high demand. Groundcycle has also added a compost drop-off site in Brooklyn at the Vinegar Hill Community Garden.
“Composting should not be thought of like the after-school clarinet program,” said Eric Goldstein, New York City environment director of the Natural Resources Defense Council. “Composting needs to be seen as an essential sanitation service, just like collecting the rubbish, sweeping the streets or removing the snow.”