When the Sanitation Department (DSNY) begins collecting food and yard waste separately in northeast Queens neighborhoods next month, it will officially have the largest organics recycling collection program in the nation.
Beginning on Monday, Dec. 5, the DSNY will start collecting organic waste from homes within Queens Community Board 11, which covers areas of Bayside, Douglaston and Little Neck. The agency has already begun the process of delivering the starter kits — which include an indoor kitchen container, an instruction brochure and an outdoor brown bin — to residents in the area.
All single-family homes and buildings with nine or fewer residential units in the area are automatically enrolled in the program — but participation is voluntary.
Residents who wish to participate are asked to place their food scraps, food-soiled paper products, flowers and houseplants into their indoor kitchen container and then transfer the materials to their outdoor bin on pick up day. Participants are asked not to include plastics of any kind, liquids, foam items, animal waste, cigarettes and ashes or medical waste.
Collected materials are then managed locally and regionally. Some organic waste is turned into compost used to rebuild the city’s soil or by urban farmers.
Five neighborhoods in southeast Queens were included in the program in Oct. 2015 and Maspeth, Glendale, Middle Village and Ridgewood were included earlier this year. The citywide program began in May 2013.
“Organic materials make up about a third of the material we throw away,” Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia said. “When you recycle your food scraps and yard waste, you decrease the amount of garbage going to landfills and help create a greener and healthier New York City.”
Residential buildings with 10 or more units may apply to participate in the collection program by visiting this website. Residents currently not being served by the pilot program can participate by visiting food scrap drop-off programs which can be found here.