New York Food Waste Recycling Expands to Multifamily Properties

Multi-Housing News, 8.9.13, By Dees Stribling, Contributing Editor

New York—Earlier this summer, the city of New York kicked off its Organic Food Waste Recycling Pilot Program, the goal of which is to divert food waste generated in the city to recycling facilities, rather than out-of-state landfills. The city recently expanded the program to include a number of large multifamily properties.

One of the larger properties included in the expansion is Morningside Heights Housing Corp., a cooperative managed by FirstService Residential (previously known as Cooper Square Realty). The property was considered important enough to the future of the program that Mayor Bloomberg held a press conference announcing the expansion of the program at the Morningside Heights community, which comprises six buildings and 980 apartments in the neighborhood of the same name in Manhattan.

One of the reasons for picking the Morningside Heights community is that FirstService Residential is New York City’s largest residential management company, overseeing 75 million square feet of residential real estate. The company has other ongoing green initiatives, which it says has helped reduce the carbon footprint of its New York portfolio by 13 percent since being implemented.

This round of expansion for the Organic Food Waste Recycling Pilot Program also includes certain high-rises in Manhattan, with properties in Brooklyn and the Bronx slated to follow this fall. Additional properties in those boroughs, as well as others in Queens and Staten Island, will begin recycling organics next spring. The near-term goal of program is to reach more than 100,000 residences by 2014, and it’s part of a long-term plan to divert three-quarters of the city’s waste stream from landfills by 2030.

Organics suitable for composting make up almost 30 percent of New York City’s residential and institutional waste stream, and cost the city more than $1 billion in landfill fees each year. This includes food scraps, compostable paper—such as tissues, napkins, soiled paper and paper plates—and other materials suitable for industrial-scale composting.