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  • Mamaroneck Observer

Our Village Composting Program: A Step Towards Environmental Leadership

by Marina Kiriakou -


If you or a neighbor participate in the Village’s composting /food scraps recycling program, you have likely noticed that the volume of your regular garbage output is relatively small.  According to the National Research Council, food, paper, and organic waste make up about 23% of what we dispose of as garbage.  Removing food scraps and select paper products not only reduces the amount of toxic garbage that goes into incineration, but it also captures their nutrients and energy, returning them to the environment in the form of composted soil.


History of Composting in the Village

The Village’s food scraps recycling program began in June 2018 as a drop-off program initiated by the Committee for the Environment (CFTE).  In May 2019, recognizing that the program was underutilized, and that curbside pick-up would be more convenient for participants, four Rye Neck High School students started ASAP Scraps Composting Inc., a non-profit compost pickup service.  The program was off to a good start, but within a few years the students graduated, leaving its continuity in question.


In March 2022, the Village launched the Food Scraps Pick-up Pilot Program.  Three hundred single-family households signed up, but the participation was irregular.  As Department of Public Works General Foreman James Barney explains in his letter to subscribers, some subscribers that signed up for the free service did not place their food scraps bins outside on their designated pick-up days, resulting in the pick-up team skipping these homes and wasting unnecessary time and resources.  In an effort to incentivize commitment, the Village introduced an annual charge of $52 for curbside pick-up. In 2023-24, 207 households participated in the program.


Already Making a Difference

While the Village Food Scraps Program is still being refined, the first 18 months alone brought 150 tons of organic waste to the composting facilities.  “We are hoping to see more residents take advantage of this opportunity,” says Ellen Silver, former Chair of the CFTE and champion of the pilot program.  “The Village of Mamaroneck is a county leader in food scraps recycling.  I believe the numbers will only go up as people realize the contribution that they can make.”


According to a study reported by the Yonkers Times, a staggering 90% of waste collected in Westchester County is recyclable.  Up to 2,500 tons of ‘garbage’ ends up at the Wheelabrator in Peekskill for incineration every day.  The question becomes not just what we're throwing away, but also where it could alternatively go.  This is where food scrap recycling can make a difference.


While the Village’s fledgling composting program is not expected to make rapid or dramatic progress, it moves the community in the right direction while using available resources.  The program is being regularly assessed to consider such things as service and pickup schedules, subscriber behaviors, renewal rates, and drop-off utilization.  Industry surveys report that the biggest challenge to growing municipal composting programs is asking people to do something different.


Learn How You Can Make A Difference

The Village has an informative flyer about how to get started, including how to purchase a starter kit (countertop bin, curbside bin, compostable bags); a list of items that are/are not accepted; and drop off location and hours. Click HERE.


Applications for 2024-2025 curbside pickup are requested by June 3rd.   Credit, debit cards and checks are accepted.  For more information, call the Village’s DPW at (914) 777-7745.


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