By Carla Zanoni
INWOOD — WaHi and Inwood residents may have the lowest rate of recycling in Manhattan, but when it comes to composting, they're way ahead of other Manhattanites.
That has inspired the Inwood Hill Park Community Compost Initiative to launch an expanded composting program in Inwood Hill Park’s Nature Center so that more residents in the area could learn how to recycle their food waste.
“People are interested in composting and recycling all over New York,” said Christina Salvi of GrowNYC, an eco-friendly nonprofit. “But there has been a lot of interest up here recently in getting bigger, more accessible composting resources.”
The center already had a small composting system in place, but GrowNYC, along with Inwood Hill Park Ranger Kathryn Clifford, and representatives from the New York Restoration Project and Lower East Side Ecology Center, got together on May 29 to create a large-scale, three-bin system to compost waste, replacing a much smaller system previously in place at the center.
They will compost food scraps brought in from neighborhood residents to be used in the park and made available to neighborhood residents for private use. A similar system was recently set up at Sherman Creek on the east side of Inwood earlier this year.
The Department of Sanitation reports that Inwood and Washington Heights residents in the Community Board 12 district recycle just 13 percent of their trash, compared to Community Board 1 residents in TriBeCa and Battery Park City, who recycle nearly 30 percent.
Robert Lange, director of the Bureau of Waste Prevention Reuse and Recycling for the Sanitation Department, said the recycling rate disparity between upper and lower Manhattan comes down to money and building resources.
“There is no difference between attitude between people in Inwood than in TriBeCa,” he said. “There are just far more resources [downtown]. Obviously if you pay $1 million for an apartment in TriBeCa, you will get different building services versus a rent control apartment in Inwood with an absentee super.”
Not everyone who participated in creating the new composting bin on May 29 considers himself eco-friendly.
Native New Yorker David Nimowitz, 46, has lived in Washington Heights since 2001. His co-op is currently exploring the idea of creating its own composting system.
“I drove here, so how eco-friendly am I really?” Nimowitz joked. “I got involved because I like being part of a community and was interested in a good way to get outside, breath some air and have fun.”