COVID-19 budget cuts force suspensions of NYC compost, e-waste collection programs

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With New York City facing a budget squeeze related to the coronavirus pandemic, the Sanitation Department announced two specialized curbside collection programs are being halted.

The DSNY is suspending its curbside compost and food waste collection program through June 30, 2021. As of Monday, May 4, food and yard waste must be thrown out with regular trash going forward.

Additionally, the Sanitation Department pulled the plug on its electronics collection program. The initiative, in which Sanitation crews would pick up discarded e-waste by appointment, had been suspended previously due to the pandemic.

No other changes are being made to Sanitation Department programs, including trash and mandatory recycling, which remain on schedule.

“These are painful cuts to make, and we do not take these changes lightly,” said Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia. “The city is facing an unprecedented crisis and these service reductions will allow the city to maintain emergency services and its core municipal services.”

At this point, the Sanitation Department described the suspension of its compost and food waste collection program as temporary. As it phased the program in across parts of the city, the Sanitation Department distributed brown bins for residents to use specifically for food and yard waste.

The Sanitation Department advised residents to clean the brown bins and keep them in storage after May 4 until the composting collection program resumes.

The department recommends that residents who have the space for it make compost on their own in their backyards. Information on making compost can be found at nyc.gov/recyclingmaterials.

The Sanitation Department says it will determine at a later date whether to reopen designated Food Scrap Drop-Off Sites across New York City. These sites were closed as social distancing measures took effect in March.

As for e-waste disposal, items such as computers, printers and televisions — which contain heavy metals and chemicals — must not be discarded with regular trash, in accordance with state law.

New Yorkers are advised to get rid of their e-waste through private means, such as designated drop-off points around the five boroughs. Visit nyc.gov/electronics for further information.

This story first appeared on amny.com.