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New York City Council passes Zero Waste Act making composting mandatory

City Council passes bill for mandatory citywide composting program
City Council passes bill for mandatory citywide composting program 01:48

NEW YORK -- In a new move to reduce the city's carbon footprint, the New York City Council passed a bill Thursday that will make it mandatory for residents to separate food waste from household trash.

Get used to seeing more little brown bins around city neighborhoods, ready for curbside pickup of organic waste from the kitchen and the yard.

"We love it, especially because we help the environment," Woodside resident Amarylis Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez is already participating in the city's current voluntary composting program, which separates food scraps and yard waste from regular trash.

Queens and Brooklyn will be the first two boroughs to be part of the rollout, starting with education and outreach in October.

The Bronx and Staten Island will follow in March, and then Manhattan in October of next year. It will be mandatory in all five boroughs in April 2025.

"It couldn't have come at a more urgent time this week," Councilmember Shahana Hanif said.

Hanif has been fighting for this mandate for over a year. City Council passed the five-part bill package Thursday.

Councilwoman Sandy Nurse is behind two of the five bills in the package.

"I think we're gonna be really keen on holding the feet to the fire because literally we are being covered in wildfire smoke," she said.

In a statement, Department of Sanitation Commissioner Jessica Tisch touts the city's first mandate of its kind, saying, "We're doubling down on what works."

Most residents CBS2 spoke with in Queens are in favor.

Others are skeptical.

"Imagine the garbagemen. How many different garbage collections you gonna have now? So it's just costing a lot of money, I guess, to keep hiring different people to pick up your garbage," Bayside resident Robin Tillier said.

Landlords and building managers who don't comply when it becomes mandatory will be subject to fines similar to what's in place now for recycling, based on the amount units in their building and the number of offenses.

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