New York City has been experimenting with pilot food-composting programs—and it's worked surprisingly well, officials say. Now, Michael Bloomberg is pushing to make composting mandatory, as it is in Seattle, San Francisco, and many other cities, the New York Times reports. The program, in which residents drop food waste into picnic-basket size containers at home, will begin as voluntary; residents will likely be required to comply within a few years, authorities note. "This is going to be really transformative," says a deputy mayor. "You want to get on a trajectory where you’re not sending anything to landfills."
The city will soon announce the hiring of a composting plant that will take on 100,000 tons of leftover food, or 10% of city food waste. Next, officials will seek out a firm to build a plant converting food into biogas for electric power. By next year, some 5% of city households and 600 schools are likely to have joined the program, which should be citywide by 2015 or 2016, according to sanitation officials. And though Bloomberg leaves office at year's end, the top Democratic candidates to succeed him back the program, the Times notes. Click for more on the program.