A "Core" Issue in the Big Apple

Thu, 2013-06-20 08:40

Mayor Bloomberg has announced that his administration will introduce a new composting program for New York City. The program is still in the pilot stage, but New York City officials hope to have a mandatory city-wide composting program in place by 2016.

This is the latest of Bloomberg’s more controversial policies. His bans on large sodas and smoking in city parks have been inconvenient for many New York City residents, but Bloomberg expects the city’s overall health costs to decrease dramatically upon implementation of these policies. While this composting program differs from its two predecessors in that it will coerce city residents to participate in a practice rather than prevent them from doing one, it is still likely to cause just as much controversy. Some residents from Staten Island, who have already participated in a pilot composting program, dislike it, stating that “it’s a pain” and that they “already have enough work.”

apple coreThese minor complaints will likely have little effect on the policy’s implementation because the New York City government has a broader responsibility to make sure that its decisions are for the betterment of the city as a whole. For example, part of Bloomberg’s new program would involve the conversion of composted materials into biofuel that could be used to power public transportation. The compost can also be used as fertilizer for use in agriculture. Even if the composted materials aren’t converted into biofuels, simply diverting the estimated 1.2 million tons of food waste from normal landfills would save the city millions of dollars that would likely reduce the burden on local taxpayers. It’s unlikely that many residents would see composting as such a “pain” if they were able to save money each year as a result.

Large cities like Seattle and San Francisco have already implemented successful mandatory composting programs. Therefore, although New York is a larger city, it seems feasible that Bloomberg’s initiative could also bear fruit.

By Peter J. Bock & Nolan Canter


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