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Strike A Chord: From Table To Soil

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons


Renee Crowley considers herself a master composter.

As funny as that sounds, Crowley said she's been composting for as long as she can remember. Crowley, project manager for the New York City Compost Project, said sometimes when she's explaining exactly what her job entails she gets mixed reactions.

"People will kind of look at it and be like 'Oh my god that's gross," Crowley said. "[They would say] 'Why would anyone want to compost in New York City.'"

Crowley said there's a number of reasons to compost: to help the environment and because it's easy to do.

New York City Compost Project is a community organization that sets-up several locations all across the city for New Yorkers to recycle their food waste. From there it gets transferred to the Lower East Side Ecology Center where it gets put into several community gardens.

Crowley said there's been a big jump in volunteers helping out and attributes that to increased environmental awareness.

"I'm always surprised when I'm in front of a group of school children, and I say 'do you guys know what composting is' and they say 'Yes, we know what composting is.' I'm always taken aback"

While the Compost Project primarily accepts fruits and vegetables, the New York City Department of Sanitation allows for more variety of food scraps. Director Kathryn Garcia said she encourages the 3.5 million New Yorkers that use the city's composting program to also put meats and cheeses in their brown bins.

Garcia said composting has a number of benefits for the environment.

"It really makes it so that the soil is much improved, so the need for fertilizer is reduced," Garcia said. "It also helps the soil retain water."

Many of the city's composting initiatives are a part of Mayor Bill de Blasio's Zero Waste Goal. The mayor said by 2030 the city should have absolutely no waste.