New York mayor rolls out food composting plans

MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, Mayor of New York, has announced plans to roll out a new food waste composting scheme, aiming to divert up to 10% of the 1 million tonnes of food waste produced in the city every year.


It has been revealed the city has hired a composting plant and pilot tests of the new scheme are underway in select neighbourhoods before a city-wide plan is implemented.


Initially the scheme will be voluntary, but officials aim to make it mandatory within a few years.


Composting food waste, which Bloomberg describes as the ‘final recycling frontier’ is part of New York’s wider efforts to divert up to 75% of its solid waste from landfills by 2013 and follows other major urban US cities such as San Francisco and Seattle which have successfully implemented food composting schemes.


Domestic food waste recycling has been prevalent here in the UK for some years, with WRAP launching the Love Food Hate Waste initiative in 2007. Since then it claims that it has prevented 137,000 tonnes of food waste going to landfill. The Hospitality and Food Service Agreement was launched just over a year ago. WRAP research indicates that if avoidable food waste diverted to anaerobic digestion, the potential savings to the industry would be more than £720 million a year. Prevention targets are to reduce food and associated packaging waste arising by 5% by the end of 2015 against a 2012 baseline and measured by CO2 emissions. The waste management target is to increase the overall rate of food and packaging waste being recycled, sent to anaerobic digestion or composted to at least 70% by the end of 2015.


However, individual councils are responsible for implementing waste recycling policies in the UK and no nationwide policy exists. With New York – one of the world’s largest cities with a population of over 21million – about to implement a consistent composting scheme for both domestic and commercial waste, questions may now be raised over whether the UK should look at national recycling policies.


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