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Garbage to Compost: An Island of Its Own

Written By: Christine Dantz

A vacation on a tropical island or summer in the city can evoke fond memories. Unfortunately, the smell of garbage waffling though the air is hardly a scent you would consider as a "fond memory." A proposal in one of America's largest cities, New York City, could remove some of the stench and turn the waste into more than an unsightly pile of garbage in neighboring New Jersey.

Introducing Compost Islands

PRESENT Architecture is a New York City firm proposing the city solve its trash problems by keeping it in the city and reusing much of it as compost. The green solution would keep organic garbage, which is an estimated 30 percent of the city's trash. Instead of spending millions to take out all 14 million tons of garbage New Yorker's toss each year, trucks would transport the organic waste to nearby islands.

The project, titled "Green Loop," would create a series of artificial islands off the city's coastline. Composting is beneficial to the environment and city budgets. The city already spends $300 million per year removing trash from the city limits. The carbon footprint isn't easy to calculate, nonetheless, it's a huge one from start to finish. Landfills add to the Earth's depleting ozone.

The "Green Loops" are more than just super-sized composting facilities. Designed as composting hubs with community parks, the firm is proposing ten islands. It will add 125 acres of new public parks to a city with the least amount of outdoor open space per-capita in the U.S. Along with reducing the city's carbon footprint; it will reduce the traffic and noise pollution in all the Burroughs.

What are some other benefits of not tossing organic garbage?

  • Nutrients produced from composting enrich soil
  • Compost is a natural fertilizer, reducing the need for harsh chemicals
  • Compost can clean contaminated soil
  • It can be used as a landfill cover
  • Is shown to prevent erosion along bodies of water, roads, hills, and several other places


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