• Sam Wood Jr

Claire Sprouse, proprietor of Hunky Dory restaurant, hosted a neighborhood micro-hauling happy hour on July 22, 2019. Micro-haulers offer an alternative way for smaller businesses and private homeowners to dispose of organic waste. They pick up organic waste on electric bicycles, which reduces congestion on local streets.

I became increasingly enthusiastic throughout the evening when learning that several of the services are offered in the Crown Heights community. Vandra Thorburn from Vokashi provides in house compost solutions for residential properties and small businesses. Greg Todd (facilitator of the Imani Community Garden) and Frederick Phillips offer carting and composting services to local retailers and restaurants. Their compost will be made available either by sale, or donation to local gardeners or landscapers.

New York City only provides organic waste collection if you live in Manhattan, South Bronx or a large apartment building (10+ units) in any other borough. The services provided by micro-haulers should be utilized by Crown Heights residents instead of waiting for the Department of Sanitation to roll out a curbside pick-up program. The Brooklyn Solid Waste Advisory Board and CB8 community stress the importance of separating your organic waste, not only to limit waste in landfills, but as a proactive measure to control the rat population. Separating your organic waste will limit rat food sources and decrease populations over time. Sounds simple enough.

Residents of Crown Heights will have to match the enthusiasm of business owners to ensure micro-hauling is widely adaptable in the community. Here is an opportunity for Crown Heights to be the leader among Brooklyn neighborhoods to combat NYC’s waste crisis, support local and larger composting goals, and reduce our individual impact on Mother Earth.

A version of this article appeared in the September issue of the Nostrand Avenue Improvement Association newsletter.

Pictured: BK Green Cart