FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 31, 2023
Mayor Noble Provides Kingston Organics Program Update
KINGSTON, NY – Mayor Steven T. Noble is pleased to announce, in its initial three weeks, the Kingston Organics program collected over 1 ton of food scraps.
Kingston Organics Program Phase 1, a free and voluntary year-round food waste diversion program for all City of Kingston residents, officially launched on July 10, 2023. A proactive approach to solid waste management, the Kingston Organics program currently has 601 public participants, and registration remains open at Engage Kingston. Once registered, participants are provided a welcome packet complete with instructional information, a map, lock code, and FAQ, and are then able to utilize one of the 11 food scrap drop-off locations across Kingston.
“We are thrilled to see the interest and enthusiasm for this program so far,” said Mayor Noble. “We are already seeing the tangible results that municipal organics programs like this can produce. I want to thank the Kingston Organics team -- the Public Works and Parks & Recreation Departments and the Environmental Education & Sustainability Coordinator for their thoughtful roll-out and implementation of this program, which has been very smooth for the first three weeks. I encourage any Kingston residents who are interested in composting to sign up and join this program.”
One critical component of the public food scraps collection system is that the bins at the drop-off locations are locked. Registered participants receive the code for their location, and only those who have registered have access. Registration is free and accessible to all, in person, online, or over the phone. Locking the bins has been proven to be a crucial component to success for several reasons:
Julie Noble, the City of Kingston’s Environmental Education & Sustainability Coordinator said, “This program has already grown so much faster than we could’ve expected. We have had an overwhelmingly positive response from the participants, have seen virtually no contamination with the system we established, and have had no nuisance animals or pests. The tonnage is trending upwards, and with a $90 savings per ton, the savings, both financial, but also greenhouse gas emissions savings, will continue to grow.”
In addition to the public drop off sites, the City has launched food scraps collection in all ten public municipal buildings. The City of Kingston’s fire stations, community centers, and municipal office buildings including City Hall have implemented food scrap stations, which serve all 300+ city staff as well as visitors.
Food scraps gathered by the Kingston Organics program are transported to a local composting facility for processing, diverting the material from being trucked hundreds of miles away to Seneca Meadows Landfill with the remainder of the municipal solid waste. This saves the City of Kingston tipping fees and reduces greenhouse gas emissions associated with trucking. Reducing the amount of food waste that goes to the landfills can save hundreds of thousands of dollars in municipal garbage transportation/tipping fees. In 2020 alone, close to eight tons (15,500 pounds) of food waste from City of Kingston residents and small businesses was transported daily to the Seneca Meadows Landfill, a 480-mile, 7.5-hour round trip.
The Office of Sustainability has applied for grant funding to advance Phase 2, which, if successful, would include voluntary curbside collection for businesses and residents.
For more information and to register for a Kingston Organics food waste drop-off location, please visit: www.engagekingston.com/Kingston-organics.
The City of Kingston is a leader in efforts to create a more energy-efficient and sustainable community. Kingston has taken a comprehensive approach to building a city that is equipped to meet modern challenges and embrace 21st century opportunities. The Sustainability Office manages the City’s environmental projects, initiatives, and programming, including energy, land use, climate adaptation and resiliency, transportation, recycling and environmental education. Current projects include Community Choice Aggregation, Organics Diversion, Community Preservation Planning, Waterfront Flooding Resiliency, Building Decarbonization and more. More information about the City of Kingston’s sustainability efforts at https://kingston-ny.gov/sustainability.