Plan to Separate Food Waste Will Expand

Within the next year, New York is preparing to roll out an ambitious plan to get residents and businesses to separate their food waste from other trash — initially on a voluntary basis — as they do their paper, metal, glass and plastics.

But already, more than 180 cities and local governments in 18 states offer curbside pickup of food scraps. Now, as Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced on Monday the expansion of the city’s pilot program for food waste recycling, those communities may offer lessons to New York as it tries to catch up.

Some cities charge for collecting trash but pick up food scraps and recyclables for free.

Some require that residents separate their food waste for composting, others hold contests and develop ad campaigns to encourage voluntary participation.

And the most determined municipalities are moving toward less frequent garbage collection as they steer residents away from the conventional black trash bin, according to a recent survey by BioCycle, a magazine that promotes recycling.

In many places, apartment buildings have proved the biggest challenge, recycling officials said.

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