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Release Date: September 18, 2014

Last weekend I was in Brooklyn and saw an organic recycling bin.  I believe that Westchester County should follow the lead of NYC and promote a county-wide organic recycling program. Westchester County could do what NYC did in 2013 and start off with a limited pilot composting initiative in some communities that are interested in working with the county recycling office promoting this initiative.

Organic waste accounts for about 31% of all waste generated by residents. Organic waste is yard waste, food scraps, compostable paper (napkins, paper plates, etc.) and other materials suitable for industrial-scale composting.  Operating a curbside organics collection program can help Westchester reduce millions of dollars in landfill disposal costs, achieve recycling goals, and reduce pests by storing food waste in special rodent-resistant bins.  If Westchester initiated this program the county will do what NYC is starting to do:  encouraging people to turn their organic waste into compost, which can be used to fertilize gardens, parks, and street trees, or into renewable energy which can be used to power thousands of homes.

What should be done: Westchester should collect organics from select neighborhoods that are interested in participating in a pilot program. The county should promote organic recycling in large buildings and should actively promote organic recycling in private and public schools as well as in government buildings. Organic recycling bins should be placed around the county.  If the county starts this program now - it will gradually expand. It will take time to convince people to change their habits but if we start educating people now and promoting the concept - organic recycling could eventually become a part of everyone's life.

I urge the County Executive, Board of Legislators and County Recycling Office to give this their high priority attention. Local governments should be encouraged to partner with the county on this initiative.  The Greenburgh Nature Center is working on this initiative. In 2013 student interns, working for Town Clerk Judith Beville and I devoted time to organic recycling concerns.  Councilwoman Diana Juettner has also provided leadership on this issue. I will be asking town staff to find locations for a pilot organic recycling program in Greenburgh. Much more has to be done.

Visit our web site at www.greenburghny.com and view archived Supervisors Reports.
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