June 12, 2013

Newcomers to Curbside Organic Waste Program Call It Huge Step Toward a Sustainable Princeton

To the Editor:

We had pizza the other day: our usual order from the usual place. What makes this pizza meal worth writing about is that when we were done, we put the pizza box in the green bin that had arrived a few weeks ago. Joy! No more guilt about throwing away all that carton that can’t be recycled.

We have recently signed up for Princeton’s curbside organic waste pickup program — and we will never look back. The program is really well thought out: You get a wheeled green bin to put outside on Wednesdays, plus a small plastic bin with a tight-fitting lid to collect kitchen scraps on your counter top, complete with a pack of compostable-plastic liner bags.

I was a little worried about the green bin attracting pests (and was prepared for frequent sanitizing), but the liners for the scrap bin make that unnecessary: your kitchen scraps go into a bag, just like your regular trash, before it goes into the green bin. I love it! The scrap collector bin is small enough to put in our fridge, which will keep away the fruit flies.

The organic waste program accepts a huge range of kitchen waste (including meat and bones, used paper napkins, and paper food containers like those pizza boxes) as well as selected yard waste. After just a few weeks, my family has already drastically reduced the volume of its regular trash; once we learn to put all the accepted items in the scrap collector we will need a smaller kitchen trash can.

Regular household garbage generates methane (a much more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide) in the anaerobic conditions of landfill sites. Its disposal costs Princeton nearly three times as much as organic waste disposal, while the organic waste comes back to us in the form of free compost for our gardens: what’s not to love?

Please consider joining this program: it’s a huge step toward a sustainable Princeton.

Tineke Thio

Dempsey Avenue