Food Composting, Coming to NYC

recycle, food compost, NYC, food, waste Out of all the wonderful things NYC is known for, recycling is not one of them. In recycling programs, NYC falls behind 15% in the recycling rate, and Mayor Bloomberg along with Ron Gonen, New York Deputy Commissioner for recycling and sustainability are on a mission to put NYC in the forefront. Featured on The Salt: NPR food blog, a new food compost recycling program has begun in NYC.

Starting in a few high rise apartment buildings, each household was given a small plastic bin for organic waste to get residents to use them to recycle food waste. With this program in its pilot stage, the program directors foresee food compost bins to reach 70 buildings in the coming year. This program will help New Yorkers in a various number of ways, which include improving the cities aroma and reducing vermin, two major annoyances NYC is known for. Other states such as San Francisco and Seattle are already in full swing with food composting. With the percentage of food waste being thrown away by New Yorkers reaching 20%, the food compost program can benefit everyone in the long run and the quality of life in the city that never sleeps.

Photo: kristyhall

To find out more about this food composting program, head to the website for more information on how you can get involved.

Do you think New York City is ready for and can benefit from a food composting program? Tweet your thoughts to @MarcusCooks



America's 'Recycle Day': Feeding Mouths, Not Landfills

By: Saira Malhotra

November 15th marked the 12th successful year of Americas 'Recycle Day'. A prompt to tie up ones shoe laces, this day serves to remind and encourage Americans to both recycle and purchase recycled products. Apart from the basic lesson of avoiding wastage and the over-production of materials, such as plastic, cardboard and glass, there are other efforts being made to divert tons of material being dumped at landfills by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and their partners: the New Jersey Devils, the National Hockey League and the Boston Bruins. The Boston Bruins has taken it a step further and as reported by the EPA, the team is spearheading efforts to redirect prepared, unused and safe-to-eat food from landfills to the Boston Rescue Mission.

The benefits of such steps are multifaceted. Not only does the food come to the assistance of people in need, it also brings about some relief to the ever-burgeoning landfills. The program is implemented by another key player, Rock and Wrap It Up!, who assist in redistributing 105 tons of prepared and safe-to-eat food throughout North America.

In a country where food insecurity is on the rise, each year, the United States is responsible for 35 million tons of food waste. A significant percentage of this food is safe and unused and could feed the mouths of millions of Americans. This is why the work undertaken by the New Jersey Devils, the National Hockey League, the Boston Bruins and Rock and Wrap It Up! has not gone unnoticed and as Ira Leighton, deputy regional administrator of the EPA states "Just as all of us in Boston celebrated our Bruins winning the Stanley Cup last June, EPA also applauds the great work being done by the Bruins, the Devils and across the NHL along with Rock and Wrap It Up! to keep edible food from filling up the nation's landfills....Donating untouched and completely edible food to shelters not only does a great public service to people in need, it also provides a great environmental benefit."

What's the low down of food wastage on the environment? The news is grim as the decomposition of food leads to the emission of methane gas, a gas that is 21 times stronger than carbon dioxide. In the U.S, landfills and food waste are responsible for 20% of methane emissions leaving the Greenhouse effect in full swing. If the food is edible and not tampered with, it can be passed on to mouths that welcome it. Scraps and left overs, can also be called into action in the form of compost which serves to reinforce soil and reduce the need for supplemental water, fertilizers, and pesticides.

Now, to turn the lens towards providing meals to families, the results have been remarkable. Among others, The New Jersey Devils have converted 9,550 pounds of food to approximately 7,346 meals and as a result have prevented the emission of 8,818 pounds of carbon dioxide. The Boston Bruins have managed to donate 3,796 meals within the 2010/2011 NHL season alone. The impact of these measures are critical and timely as efforts for straightening out the environment and helping people cope with their food insecurity challenges are on an all-time high.

Americas 'Recycle Day' has the objective of taking recycling from a level of conversation to a level of household implementation. This work has already led to millions of Americans understanding their role in this push for 'recycling'. They are responding by executing measures at home and in the work place and making consciously environmental consumer choices.

How often do you recycle?

Photo: andyarthur

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Reduce Kitchen Waste: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Reduce, reuse, recycle. You've heard those three words together for many years, but now it's time to put them into practice. Americans throw out 40% of their food, which is much too high. Here's a few suggestions about how to reduce your household waste.

Reduce packaging by shopping in bulk. Many stores, including Whole Foods and your local food co-op have ingredients in bulk containers. You can find cereal, grains, spices, nuts, and dried beans, among other foods in these containers. Bring your own resuable container when you shop, and you'll be surprised to see how much less you throw out each week.

Reuse packaging such as sturdy takeout containers for bulk gorcery items, and resuse plastic and paper bags to carry your groceries. Single-source packaging is best for recycling. Instead of mixed-source containers, a plastic only, aluminum only, or paper only container is best.

Check back next week for suggestions to make the most of your grocery day.