Is Zero Waste by 2030 a Reality for NYC?

    The title of this paper is ‘Is Zero Waste by 2030 a Reality for NYC: The Limitations of Urban Compost’. This research project seeks to address the issue of food waste management in New York City. In a city famous for its filth it can seem impossible to do the right thing when it comes to your waste. While we still struggle to manage even the baseline of recycling ( i.e. plastic, metal, and paper) the #OneNYC zero waste plan claims that it will also eliminate food waste from landfills. With food waste management being a complex system, and community gardens being the nucleus for radical and innovative composting, it is clear to me that these organizations hold the key to success.

Throughout this research, I will conduct semi-structured interviews about the cultural and social experiences of raising and organizing urban farms and gardens and I will gain information about their most valued composting and food waste management practices. Additionally, I will do the same with city-officials involved in the planning and implementation of the #OneNYC zero waste plan, and gain information about their practices and plans. Ultimately, I will use Frank Geels’ Multi-Level Perspectives model to create a cohesive flow of information between the two entities, hopefully for each to inform the other of their best practices produce ideal food waste management practices. In this paper, I ask the question: Is zero waste by 2030 a reality for NYC, and what are the limitations of urban composting?