DSNY new initiative encourages New Yorkers to compost
The New York City Department of Sanitation’s new “smart bins” are helping New Yorkers keep energy costs low, help the environment and fight the city’s rat problem through composition.
According to DSNY, New Yorkers put out over 24 million pounds of trash on the curb, one-third of which is compostable.
"When you take your lunch and you throw it out in the trash, it goes to a landfill where it becomes nothing and becomes greenhouse gases,” said Joshua Goodman, commissioner of DSNY. “Instead, you can give it to us, where it can become either reusable soil, or renewable energy.
Smart bins have been making their way across the five boroughs since 2021 as an add-on to the city’s curbside compost pickup initiative. For Bronx native Vivian Young, going to her local smart bin is one of her favorite weekly activities.
“The way this smart compost works is there is an app that you can download on your phone, you open the app, and it'll tell you different sites that are near your home,” said Young. “Once you reach a bin, if you're close enough to it, it allows you to unlock it.”
The bins lock back up as soon as you dispose of your food – something Goodman says is essential to fighting back against New York City rats.
“Getting the rat food out of plastic bags and into secure containers is one of the major reasons to expand city wide composting,” said Goodman. "Any time you use one of these bins, you are fighting rats."
The DSNY’s criteria for what can be composted? ‘If it grows, it throws’ – meaning anything from your kitchen or garden can be tossed right into a smart bin.
DSNY says these bins have been used over 150,000 times so far, and within the next 12 months they plan to add 150 more smart bins citywide.