In the past, the city used to collect leaves from residents, compost them, and then host a “Free Compost Giveback” twice a year. Over the years, the program shrank until it was no more. In an effort to gather support for Fall Leaf Collection and Compost Givebacks, Beth Mathes, of East New York Farms will be coming to distribution today to set up a call station as part of a “Compost to Council Shout-Out” call our City Council rep, Mathieu Eugene to reinstate the pickup of leaves in our communities and compost them.

This Compost to Council campaign is geared toward City Council districts where representatives have influence in the decision to reinstate the pickup of leaves in our communities and composting them for our gardens and green spaces. PLG CSA’s Council Representative, Mathieu Eugene (District 40), holds a seat on the Council Environmental Committee, and his record reflects concern for health care and access to health care.

Up until 2008, the NYC Compost Project included the collection of our city’s fall leaves–roughly 20,000 tons per year–which will increase up to three times with the Million Trees Initiative, for the production of
municipal compost. This compost was given back to NYC residents and the Parks Department to revitalize our gardens and open spaces. However, the NYC Compost Project faced a lack of financial and political support for the Fall Leaf Collection and Giveback Days, and they have been cancelled entirely “until further notice.”

It costs the city nearly $100 per ton–close to $2 million per year–to dump the leaves in out-of-state landfills. This is a costly burial for a local resource, and a primary human cause of methane–a
destructive greenhouse gas–in the atmosphere.  As an efficient, cost-effective (as we already have fully operational municipal composting facilities), and sustainable alternative, composting fall leaves should be the clear choice for our city.

Even if you don’t live in this district, let’s work together to tell City Council Reps that this is an important, and cost-efficient way to reduce waste and enrich our health!

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