NEW YORK (WWTI) — Governor Andrew Cuomo has declared this week New York State Compost Awareness Week and the Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos officially kicked off the awareness week on May 2.
The purpose of New York State Compost Awareness Week is to raise awareness of the environmental benefits of composting. According to Commissioner Seggos, recycling food scraps, grass, leaves, yard clippings through composting reduces the state’s dependence on landfills and combustors, ultimately helping to lower climate-altering emissions, all while producing nutrient-rich compost.
“New Yorkers are national leaders when it comes to sustainability and effectively managing and recycling the waste we generate and compost awareness week is a valuable reminder of the actions we all can take to protect our shared environment. Increasing composting helps to reduce our dependence on landfills and protect the planet from harmful methane emissions, while simultaneously harnessing the beneficial properties of organics,” said Commissioner Seggos. “I encourage all New Yorkers to consider composting, either at home or by separating organics for collection and transport to a composting facility, to help protect our resources and lessen the impacts of climate change.”
The DEC estimated that over three million tons of food scraps are disposed in landfills or managed in combustors on an annual basis. Organic material as a whole makes up 30% of municipal waste. When sent to landfills, this waste creates methane, a contributor to climate change.
However according to the DEC, when organic material is composted, no methan is produced. The DEC confirmed that over 700,000 tons of organic material is processed annually in compost facilities across the state.
Compost facilities most commonly accept yard trimmings, including leaves and grass, and some have begun to accept food scraps. Additionally, communities across New York State have specific drop-off locations where residents can leave food scraps.
More on how to compost at home, or where to donate composting materials can be found on the DEC website.
New York State Compost Awareness will will be observed May 2 through May 8, 2021.