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New York City to Collect Residential Food Waste for Composting

New York City is planning to prompt residents to separate their food waste for composting.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s plan calls for 150,000 single-family homes participating voluntarily in the program by next year, in addition to more than 100 high-rise buildings, which would account for more than 5 percent of city households. More than 600 schools also will take part. The program should expand to the entire city by 2015 or 2016, confirmed Vito Turso, deputy commissioner for public information and community affairswith the New York City Department of Sanitation, in an e-mail.

Under the program, residents collect food waste in picnic-basket size-containers in their homes. Those containers are then put in larger brown bins on the curb for pickup by the sanitation trucks.

The Bloomberg administration plans to contract with a composting plant to process 100,000 tons of food scraps a year, which would represent 10 percent of the city’s residential food waste.

The city also will seek proposals in the next 12 months for a company to build a plant in the New York area to process residents’ food waste into biogas, which would be used to generate electricity.

The program initially will be voluntarily, but officials expect it eventually to become mandatory.

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