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From Trash to Treasure: Ahead of Citywide Curbside Composting, Adams Administration Expands Staten Island Compost Facility

January 4, 2024

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Expansion Increases Food Waste Capacity by Nearly 2,000 Percent

Additional Capacity Will Allow Facility to Manage Increased Incoming Tonnage From Citywide Composting Program

By End of 2024, All New Yorkers Will Have Access to Free, Weekly, No-Hassle Curbside Composting

NEW YORK – New York City Mayor Eric Adams and New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY) Commissioner Jessica Tisch today celebrated a major expansion of capacity at the DSNY Staten Island Compost Facility that includes new equipment — known as an aerated static pile — that will increase the facility’s capacity to turn food waste into compost by nearly 2,000 percent. In order for waste to be turned into finished compost, it must be exposed to air and moisture over a period of time — six to eight months, previously. Aerated static piles expose all sides of pre-compost waste piles to air and moisture, vastly speeding up the composting process without the need for daily turning and repositioning.

“Getting food out of trash bags and into our nation-leading citywide composting program is a win-win-win — we’re depriving rats of food, keeping methane out of our atmosphere, and putting it all to beneficial use,” said Mayor Adams. “The expansion at DSNY’s Staten Island Compost Facility we’re announcing today will dramatically increase our ability to process compost, preparing us to get more material in the door as our citywide program expands to all five boroughs this coming year.”

“Increasing our composting infrastructure will be a gift that keeps on giving for New York,” said Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi. “Not only are we taking rat food off the streets — we’re also providing nutrients that go back into greenways citywide, making New York a more environmental, lush, and healthy city. I look forward to seeing the composting program expanded to all five boroughs, as we build our capacity to process it.”

“Over the last decade, the Department of Sanitation has produced hundreds of millions of pounds of finished compost here on Staten Island, which today is in parks, gardens, and yards in every corner of the city,” said DSNY Commissioner Tisch. “The goal of New York City’s curbside composting program — the largest, easiest ever — is to create beneficial use for material that used to do nothing except feed rats and produce methane. As service reaches all New Yorkers this year, this new expansion means more food waste turned into usable compost — more plants, fewer rats.”

Previously, food waste brought to the Staten Island Compost Facility was processed in large piles known as windrows and took six to eight months to break down into finished compost. The expansion — an aerated static pile system set up across 16 temperature- and moisture-controlled concrete bays — cuts that time in half while boosting the facility’s capacity to process food waste from 3 million pounds per year to a total of 62.4 million pounds per year. As the Staten Island Compost Facility can also process 147 million pounds of yard waste per year, the new expansion brings the facility’s total capacity to 209.4 million pounds of incoming material per year.

The facility has produced about 42 million pounds of finished compost per year over the last several years. Historically, about 60 percent of that finished compost is sold to landscapers, and 40 percent is given away to community groups, parks, residents, and others. DSNY expects the amount of compost produced and given away to increase substantially with the facility’s massively expanded capacity.

This expansion of capacity is happening as the nation’s largest and easiest curbside composting program scales up citywide, fulfilling Mayor Adams’ commitment in his “Working People’s Agenda” to give all New Yorkers, in all five boroughs, access to simple, universal, weekly collection of leaf and yard waste, food scraps, and food-soiled paper products. Currently available in all of Brooklyn and Queens, free and simple curbside collection of compostable material will be available across the entire city by October 2024.

"Expanding Staten Island's composting capacity by nearly 2,000 percent marks a significant step towards sustainability in New York City,” said New York State Assemblymember Charles D. Fall. “This advancement, particularly with innovative aerated technology, not only enhances our waste management but also sets a precedent for urban environmental responsibility. As we look towards the implementation of citywide curbside composting, this progress ensures that we are prepared to handle the increased volume. It's a proud moment for our city & our borough. I extend my gratitude to Mayor Adams, DSNY Commissioner Tisch and everyone involved who turned this vision into reality." 

“Today’s monumental upgrade of the Staten Island Composting Facility will supercharge our efforts to compost all 1 million tons of organic household waste produced each year in our city,” said New York State Assemblymember Jenifer Rajkumar. “Mayor Adams and Sanitation Commissioner Tisch have installed new equipment that accelerates the composting process, increasing capacity by 2,000%. This upgrade is key to accommodating the 2024 Citywide rollout of free weekly curbside composting. It will stamp out 2 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year and set us on track for a sustainable, Zero Waste future.”


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