Mayor’s FY25 Executive Budget failed to restore funding for litter basket service and community composting programs

City Hall – Ahead of the City Council’s Executive Budget hearing by the Committee on Sanitation and Solid Waste Management and the Committee on Finance, the Council reiterated its call for Mayor Adams’ administration to restore funding for key programs that promote clean and sustainable communities. Specifically, the Council has urged the restoration and baselining of funding for community composting programs that facilitate the success of citywide composting and litter basket service that ensures equitable trash pickups across the five boroughs.

New York City has taken steps to be a national leader on zero waste policies by advancing citywide organics collection. As the city works toward implementation of citywide curbside composting in the fall, community composting programs are essential to public awareness and participation that ensures all communities are prepared.

It’s also critical that litter basket collection is no longer threatened in each year’s budget, given its central role in equitable sanitation services.

These programs were priorities in the Council’s Preliminary Budget Response, but were left out of the Mayor’s FY25 Executive Budget.

Community Composting Programs

The Council has called for the baselined restoration of $7.1 million in funding cuts by the mayor for the Community Composting program that increases public awareness and participation in composting. Community composting organizations across New York City are responsible for composting 8.3 million pounds of food waste annually and distributing over 1.7 million pounds of compost to parks, gardens, and residents. They also provide the essential public outreach and educational efforts to millions of New Yorkers. The cuts to these programs have led to the elimination of their vital services, which is counterproductive at a time when the Department of Sanitation (DSNY) will be mandated to implement citywide residential composting in the fall. Without community composting programs, the City will not have successful participation rates in organics collection.

Litter Basket Service Restoration

The Council has called for the baselined restoration of $22 million in funding to maintain the level of litter basket service in each district across the five boroughs. In neighborhoods across the city, overflowing litter baskets are a quality-of-life issue. Mayor Adams’ administration should commit to consistently funding the vital services, rather than cutting them and requiring that they be negotiated each year. Over the years, the Council has negotiated one-time funding to support litter basket pickup service each year, but the mayoral administration has not baselined funding to support it.  Litter basket service is critical to maintaining healthy and safe streets, especially along commercial corridors and other parts of neighborhoods.

“New Yorkers are tired of leaving their apartment to be greeted by mountains of trash bags and swarms of rats on their street corner,” said Council Member Shaun Abreu, Chair of the Committee on Sanitation and Solid Waste Management. “We can and we must do better, and the good news is it doesn’t have to be this way. We have initiatives proven to keep our city clean, like community composting, which teaches New Yorkers how to compost, and litter baskets, which make sure waste is left in bins instead of on our streets. If we want a city where New Yorkers can take pride in their communities, we will reverse these cuts. We will restore funding to litter baskets and community composting. And we will invest in a city that treats basic sanitation as the public health right that it is.”

“My top priority as an elected official has always been working to secure a safe and clean city,” said Council Member Justin Brannan, Chair of the Committee on Finance. “Nothing else our government does matters if we can’t provide clean and livable neighborhoods to New Yorkers of today and tomorrow alike. This stuff is not a luxury, but a fundamental municipal responsibility. Keeping our communities clean, safe, and healthy must always come first.”

“Community composting supports the City and Mayor’s goals on climate, resilience, and green jobs,” stated Justin Green, Executive Director of Big Reuse. “At a time of growing climate crisis we need to invest more in climate solutions and resiliency. Composting reduces methane emissions from landfills which are climate gas 80x more powerful then carbon dioxide. Community composting provides compost to improve our green infrastructure while engaging and empowering New Yorkers to take positive environmental actions that visibly improve our city.”

“WE ACT is excited to see the Sanitation Committee make community composting a priority. Mayor Adams has said he wants a cleaner, healthier city. He has said he wants to develop green jobs and invest in the youth, the future of our city. And he has also talked about the importance of sustainability, combating the climate crisis, and reducing the city’s emissions,” said Lonnie Portis, New York City Policy and Advocacy Manager at WE ACT for Environmental Justice. “Well, Mr. Mayor, you must be a big fan of community composting programs because they do all those things and more! In fact, there is no other program within the Department of Sanitation’s budget that can deliver such a broad range of benefits for New Yorkers.