While Queens was first brought on board back on June 2, residents in Maspeth, Middle Village and Glendale are now among the 70,000 new households included in the expansion that kicked off on Monday.
The new program collects materials like paper towels, napkins, coffee filters, fruit and vegetable trimmings, meat and bones.
“We have a very broad program,” said DSNY Commissioner Kathryn Garcia. “We’re trying to be all-encompassing.”
With nearly 350 schools on board and an additional 50 schools slated for the fall, Garcia said her biggest challenge now is helping spread the word about what can and cannot be recycled in the new pilot program.
“We’ll be doing an intensive education about separating out their organics,” she said. “There are compostable materials like forks and knives and trays that we are working with the schools to bring to their cafeterias so there is less contamination.”
Large and small composting bins are expected to be delivered to residences with nine or fewer units.
Leaves and yard waste that cannot fit in the bin can be collected in paper and leaf bags, unlined rigid containers, or in clear plastic bags. Everything left out in black bags will be collected as normal garbage.
Garcia joined Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley at her office at Atlas Park Mall last week to announce the extension in the 30th District.
“Organic collection, or composting, is the next chapter in creating a more sustainable future for New York City,” Crowley said. “I am thrilled to see this innovative program expanded into Queens, and I strongly encourage residents to enroll.”
Community Board 5 chair Vincent Arcuri said that while he is pleased to see the neighborhoods included in the program, he is still concerned about how the composting pickup can work for homes above commercial spaces on Myrtle Avenue and Fresh Pond Road.
“With a lot of these absentee landlords, they don’t give them the space to store garbage cans,” Arcuri said. “That’s why you see bags dumped out on the sidewalk,”
An avid composter since the start of the program earlier this month, Arcuri said he hopes the initiative will inspire the youth to take a more active role in the environment.
“The plastic bags go back to the supermarket, I take the bottles and cans to deposit,” he said. “This is something we always did. It’s just this whole generation grew up with a disposable society.”