Sustainability Environment

New York mayor proposing composting mandate

Big Apple residents will soon be required to separate yard waste outside for composting.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams is in Times Square in New York City for a news conference about New Year’s Eve security on Friday, December 30, 2022. AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey

Story at a glance

  • New York City is proposing a new rule requiring residents to separate yard waste from garbage for composting. 

  • The new rule is set to go into effect in Queens and will then be rolled out across the other four boroughs by October of next year. 

  • The city’s voluntary composting program is also returning to the city.  

New York City Mayor Eric Adams is proposing a new rule requiring residents to set aside leaves, grass, branches, and other yard waste outside of their homes for composting.  

The new rule will go will first go into effect in Queens later this year and then in Brooklyn beginning on Oct. 2, according to a Department of Sanitation Notice released Monday.  

Bronx and Staten Island residents will be required to separate yard waste for composting starting on March 25 of next year while the rule will go into effect for Manhattanites on Oct. 7 of 2024, the notice states.  

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“Yard waste is generated separately from other types of recyclable and non-recyclable waste — in the yard or garden rather than in the home. It is generally already segregated into separate containers or bags,” the notice reads.  

“Requiring mandatory separation of yard waste is therefore straightforward; residents need not change their behavior other than to set yard waste out on the designated recycling day.” 

News of the new rule coincides with the return of the city’s voluntary compost collection program, which restarted in Queens on Monday and piloted in the borough last October.  

The city plans to offer every New Yorker curbside composting service by October of 2024, according to the notice.  

The new rule is one of many changes Adams has proposed to make Big Apple streets cleaner and less rat-friendly.  

“Organic waste, including yard waste, food scraps, and food-soiled paper, makes up 34 percent of all residential waves in New York City,” the notice states. “Moreover, this material, the most putrescible portion of New York City’s curbside waste stream, attracts rats and other vermin.”  

Once the new composting rule takes effect, New York City will join a handful of other U.S. localities that offer composting services to its residents like San Francisco, Calif., Portland, Ore, and Boulder, Colo.  

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