City to Launch Curbside Food Scraps Collection in Park Slope

By Leslie Albrecht on January 7, 2014 1:34pm 

 Food scraps can be turned into compost that's used to fertilize gardens. This spring the city will launch a pilot program for curbside collection of food waste in Park Slope, Gowanus and Sunset Park.
Food scraps can be turned into compost that's used to fertilize gardens. This spring the city will launch a pilot program for curbside collection of food waste in Park Slope, Gowanus and Sunset Park.
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Flickr/c-weiss

PARK SLOPE — Don't put those dinner leftovers in the dog's bowl — the city wants them.

The Department of Sanitation is launching curbside collection of "organic waste" such as food scraps and grass clippings in parts of Park Slope this spring, Community Board 6 district manager Craig Hammerman said Monday.

The discarded grub and greenery will be turned into compost to fertilize gardens, parks and trees, the Department of Sanitation told Community Board 6 officials. The agency will present details on the program at a Jan. 27 community board meeting.

Park Slope homeowners will be able to cart their compostable garbage to the curb on their regular recycling day. They'll be provided with special bins that have a latching lid and wheels. In addition to food scraps, the organic waste can include paper that's been soiled with food, egg shells, coffee grounds, coffee filters and animal bones.

The pilot program will also include some homes in Gowanus and Sunset Park. It's an expansion of a residential organic waste collection initiative that the city launched in 2013 in Staten Island.

Last October, Windsor Terrace became the first Brooklyn neighborhood to test-drive organics collection.

The sidewalk collection system will be a convenient alternative for eco-conscious locals who now must haul food garbage to drop-off sites such as a community garden or the Gowanus Canal Conservancy's salt lot on Second Avenue.

Organic waste that isn't composted ends up clogging landfills — and currently makes up about 30 percent of the city's trash, according to the Department of Sanitation.

Park Slope is a good choice for the pilot program because the neighborhood has a track record of embracing recycling, Hammerman said.  In the 1970s and '80s, locals ran voluntary recycling programs, and in the 1990s, the city tested recycling paper, metal, glass and plastic in Park Slope before rolling out the larger citywide recycling program, Hammerman said.

"Park Slope has had a long history of ecological and recycling activism," Hammerman said in an email. "It's only natural [the city] would want to come back here to run this pilot. I'm only wondering what took them so long to return?"

The Department of Sanitation did not respond to a request for comment.

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