By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Stuyvesant Town management and the Department of Sanitation are trying to raise awareness about the property’s efforts to compost food waste, and hopes to use the property as an example of how larger multifamily buildings can do this successfully.
DSNY Commissioner Kathryn Garcia visited Stuy Town last Wednesday with representatives from greenmarket organizer GrowNYC and NYC Organics, the branch of DSNY that runs the compost collection program, to check on its progress.
The program officially started in Stuy Town and Peter Cooper on December 2 and director of environmental services for STPCV Rei Moya said that it took about a month to hit its stride. Moya recommended that residents who want to start composting can collect their food waste in the freezer and empty it directly into the brown bins in building recycling areas. The program will accept food scraps, food-soiled paper and plant clippings. He added that he has started composting in his own apartment and invested in a countertop container, lined with biobags that can be purchased at places like Walgreens or local supermarkets.
“Because the moisture just seeps out and dries up, there’s no smell,” Moya said.
STPCV collects 10,000 pounds of compost a week, and Moya said that although some residents have voiced concerns about an increase of pests because of the program, that hasn’t happened because the hard plastic of the bins has proved to be an effective deterrent.
Garcia said that collecting compost from a property like Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village is more complicated than curbside pickup from smaller multi-family buildings, but the agency has been successfully working with management to coordinate the program. Compost is collected on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at the end of the day and porters arrange the bins for pick-up by DSNY along the four loops in Stuy Town and on East 20th Street for Peter Cooper.
STPCV general manager Rick Hayduk said that the composting program fits into management’s plan to increase sustainability on the property and emailed newsletters have been sent out informing residents on how to participate.
“It’s our corporate social responsibility,” he said. “We’ve reduced our carbon footprint and we’re pushing recycling. It’s not too often you get 27,000 people in one communication stream.”
Stuy Town resident Deborah Brozina said that she has been composting in her apartment before the program officially started, taking her food waste to the Union Square Greenmarket, so she was thrilled when composting bins came to her building.
“We were hit by Sandy,” she said. “We know what climate change is and we know we can make a difference.”