In 16 years, if all goes as planned, New York City will no longer send any trash to landfills. That includes the million-plus tons of food waste the city generates every year. But, like other cities that are trying to recycle organic waste, New York faces a challenge: there aren’t yet enough places to take it.
The biggest composting facility on the East Coast was closed in 2014 because it smelled so foul, a problem compounded by the length of time it took the food to break down. Composting might work well if everyone had a backyard. But it turns out that it’s a tricky thing to scale up, especially for the amount of food thrown out in a large city.