The Natural Deficiency of Our City: The Prospect of Sustainable Waste in New York

Elizabeth Joan Davis, Fordham University


Almost one third of New Yorkers’ waste stream is composed of organic material that is suitable for composting, so why is it being sent to landfills? There is no ‘away’ when we throw things away. When organic material ends up in a landfill, biological and technical nutrients become wasted resources, in addition to creating methane, a harmful Greenhouse Gas. The average person does not ask themselves basic questions before throwing something away; we need to set aside the time to think about where the products we use are ending up. The carelessness and complacency has created chaos within our waste streams, and in the absence of time, has led to a problem we cannot continue to avoid. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused issues for Organics Collection Programs across the country, even shutting down New York City’s program entirely. The behavioral standoff juxtaposing our time against the value of our planet needs to come to an end. By separating organic material at the source, we can learn to waste smarter. If we learn to work with our neighbors, we can restore nutrients from spoon-to-soil.

Subject Area

Sustainability|Urban planning|Climate Change

Recommended Citation

Davis, Elizabeth Joan, "The Natural Deficiency of Our City: The Prospect of Sustainable Waste in New York" (2020). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI28089934.