City of Kingston takes key step toward composting mandate

Kingston Mayor Steve Noble participates in a compost audit in August 2019.

By Paul Kirby @paulatfreeman on Twitter


KINGSTON, N.Y. — A composting study, part of an effort to make the practice mandatory in the city, is nearing completion.

“The analysis is complete, and the draft report with recommendations is being compiled this winter,” Summer Smith, the city’s director of communication and community engagement, wrote in an email. “We expect to have the report in the second quarter of 2021.”

The study was to be completed last spring but was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mayor Steve Noble, a staunch environmentalist, has said mandatory composting would save the city a significant amount on its $1 million annual cost of hauling trash.

Early estimates show the city could cut its trash-hauling costs by 30% if mandatory composting is instituted.

In the fall of 2019, Noble said the city had "concluded direct outreach to businesses about the interest [in] and feasibility [of composting], as well as posted and gathered dozens of residential compost survey responses.

“We have conducted waste sorts at parks, events and municipal buildings,” he said at the time. “We’ll pull all this information together into a report that evaluates curbside composting options for the city.”

During his 2019 re-election campaign that year, the Democratic mayor said mandatory citywide composting would be likely if he won.

Noble has said the state is gearing up to adopt its own composting program by 2030 so it makes sense for the city to get a jump and save money at the same time.

Toward that end, the report to be released in the spring will address how a Kingston composting program could be developed. Noble said research has included “digging” through city trash to determine how much compostable material is being thrown out with other garbage.

The composting study, funded by a $63,000 grant from the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s Climate Smart Communities Implementation Program, will be used to create the Kingston Organic Waste Management Plan.

The organic waste management plan will include a waste management strategy for government-hosted or government-permitted events; organics collection and composting in government buildings; a government waste audit and diversion tracking; a compost bin distribution plan; and a determination about the feasibility of an organics collection program at both residential and commercial properties.

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