City composting programs in danger due to budget cuts caused by pandemic
Environmentalists are fighting to save city composting programs in danger due to virus-related budgets cuts.
The Department of Sanitation has suspended curbside composting through June 30 of next year. The city will devote resources to safety, health, shelter and food security needs.
Sanitation funding for seven compost project partner organizations are also suspended for the 2021 fiscal year.
The New York Botanical Garden, which hosts city compost programs, says composting is ideal to reduce waste and create compost for plants.
In a statement the DOS says, "These were painful cuts that were made and we do not take these changes lightly. The city is still facing an unprecedented crisis and the service reductions will allow the city to maintain emergency services and its core municipal services."
City Hall also responded with a statement that says, "We value saving lives and we are prioritizing spending that protects health and safety of all New Yorkers. Cuts to the organics program are painful but have been made in light of an ongoing pandemic that has brought on incredible fiscal hardship. Service reductions will allow the department to prioritize core services through the duration of the pandemic."
The mayor says the city doesn't have the money for composting right now.
According to a petition calling on Mayor Bill de Blasio to change his mind, the city composts more than 300,000 pounds per day. Because of the suspensions, that compost will go to landfills and incinerators, which release greenhouse gases.