Why the New York Voluntary Composting Program Will be a Winner

07/08/2013 12:30 pm ET | Updated Sep 07, 2013

Planning to chuck leftover food into the dustbin? Think again!

Wouldn't you want to recycle your food scraps for some serious environmental good? I'm guessing you would!

With the launch of Mayor Bloomberg's voluntary food composting program in all the five boroughs of New York, residents of the city will now be able to turn their food scraps into compost.

What is Composting and Why is it Cool

The Merriam Webster defines compost as "a mixture that consists largely of decayed organic matter and is used for fertilizing and conditioning land." This definition clearly shows the big benefit that composting has. Using compost fertilizes plants and nurtures the earth to yield better crops.

Composting is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to go green at home. Besides the fact that you are replacing chemical fertilizers and creating nutrient-dense fertilizer right at home, you're also reducing landfill waste and preventing formation of gases like Methane in landfills. According to the EPA, composting can "Capture and destroy 99.6 percent of industrial volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) in contaminated air."

The benefits of composting are many and have far-reaching environmental impact.

How the Voluntary Composting Program Will Change New York as an Eco City

The food recycling program had a successful pilot run in Staten Island earlier this year with 43 percent of the Staten Island homes participating, and the results motivated officials to launch the program in all five boroughs. While the program is voluntary to begin with, it may become mandatory like paper and plastic recycling.

Despite all its efforts to be Eco-conscious, New York has had a dismal recycling rate, which lags around 15 percent, less than half the national average. With this voluntary food composting program, Bloomberg hopes to boost that number so that 30 percent of the city's waste avoids landfills by 2017.

Deputy Mayor Cas Holloway is quoted in the Daily News sharing the reasons behind the program as, "By recycling food waste, we can cut down on the total amount of trash we send to landfills and put it to better use as compost for community gardens or even energy."

Why Other States Should Follow Suit

NYC, itself, would be following in the footsteps of less dense cities like San Francisco, Seattle and Portland that have already adopted curbside composting programs and it is time that more cities and states follow suit. In 2011 alone, more than 36 million tons of food waste was generated and only 4 percent of that was sent for composting.

If more cities and states were to follow in New York's footsteps, this dismal percentage could be a lot better and brighter for the planet's future.

When we first started recycling plastic toys at Second Chance Toys, there were so many people who thought the idea couldn't stick. Seven years and almost 150,000 toys later, we are stronger than ever in our conviction that if we all do our part - there is no question we can help save the earth.

Now I'm off to empty out my leftover salad into my composting bin and you can do the same too!

What do you think of this voluntary composting program?