Open Thread Wednesday

What’s on your mind? Comment away!

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  • AEB

    Would someone kindly explain to me something about the use of the new brown “compost” receptacles?

    I opened ours the other day to discover that a neighbor had transferred trash–peelings, coffee grounds, etc.–directly into the unlined container. I checked the written material that came with the receptacle and it seems that one can do this–OR line the receptical first.

    Is this possible? I mean, to create a “can” of wet garbage? How will the garbage pick-up guys deal with this? Won’t the brown receptacle turn into a festering mess, especially in summer? Isn’t lining it first a necessary way to go?


  • DIBS

    Good point about the Summer but lining it with anything plastic sort of defeats the purpose of composting. Hopefully the plastic doesn’t get removed and simply thrown in with the compost and conversely, if it remains, will still present the same smell problems. I assume the receptacles need to be hosed out once a week but not everyone has the capability to do so. Are there special trucks that come around to remove the compost?

  • AEB

    Thanks. At the moment, the receptacles seem an invitation to problems of various kinds. Certainly no one will be hosing out ours, which would be true especially in the winter.

    I’m told that clear plastic liners are kosher. But, because our building won’t provide the necessary maintenance, I see this as ending in an unused garbage can–which means more garbage: itself. Permanent, in this case.

  • A Neighbor

    I have the same questions and forebodings. I suggest talking to folks in Cobble Hill who have been doing this for a year. One woman I spoke to loves it, but she seems to use a lot of plastic bags — both for her family’s compost and to line the brown container. Which, I might add, is what the handout that came with the containers seems to recommend.

  • cranberry

    1.The information with the bin stated pick up starts the week of June 4.
    2.It states it can be lined with biodegradable bags. A coupon for $2.00 was included.
    3.It also suggested collecting the scraps and freezing them over the week and then put it out on collection day.

  • Susan Bruce

    I have a kids desk in great condition from PBTeen
    that I would like to pass on. If you can pick it up its yours. I am in Cobble Hill. Call me at 917-843-7520.

  • Banet

    A lot to cover here:

    First, we should all try to find ways to make this work because 1) it’s the right thing to do (a full 1/3rd of what NYC puts into landfills is biodegradable and that costs ALL of us money through our taxes and 2) eventually it will be required by law for exactly that reason.

    My personal experience shows that indeed, we all produce a surprising amount of biodegradable trash: Last year my family composted through a CSA that picked it up from our house weekly. We used 5 gallon paint buckets (as compared to the 3 gallon brown bins we all received). Our family of 4 (that admittedly cooks a lot) would regularly fill up 1 bucket — and frequently fill up two — in the course of a week. Also, we found our regular trash filled up much more slowly and could easily go a full week or more to fill the standard 13 gallon kitchen can. And the kitchen trash wasn’t smelly because there was nothing smelly in there.

    As far as these brown containers getting smelly, my friend has been using them in Bay Ridge for over a year and has had no problems. Granted, he might be rinsing them out now and again but definitely not weekly as he uses the bags and they work.

    If you have access to a hose in front of your building then I expect a quick rinse now and again would be nice but if you don’t have access then you might have to find an alternative. Spray it with Lysol once a month? Bring out a bucket of soapy water? Talk to a neighbor about borrowing their hose now and again? There are lots of ways to solve this problem. After all, right now all this nasty stuff ends up in the really big cans in front of your building. And bags sometimes leak. So your big cans outside eventually get pretty nasty. How do you clean those out? At least these brown cans are small enough that worst case, you can just carry them up to your shower and spray them out there once a year (which is nasty of course, but won’t kill you).

    Finally, there ARE biodegradable plastic bags made specifically for this size container. They’re under the brand name “BioBag”. Allegedly Key Food sells them but I haven’t checked. Amazon also sells them, 100 bags for for $23.96, or 23.96 cents per bag.

    I don’t know about you, but I’m happy to spend $12.43 a year to buy these bags (23.96 cents x 52 weeks) and do the right thing, especially since I expect I’ll use fewer regular trash bags and save money there.

    Here’s the link to Amazon:

    And here’s a link for 13 gallon bags for those who have those much bigger apartment building-sized 13 gallon brown bins (higher cost of course but actually much less expensive per gallon):

  • Jose Rolon

    Hello! I’ve been living at 25 Joralemon for a year now which I love (last house down on the right), but was curious about the bottom level of BQE. Has there ever been any discussion of covering it up with a panel to prevent the noise? Fortunate to not hear it much from the inside (except in the bedroom depending on how heavy traffic is), but the moment we step outside it’s exceptionally loud including in our outside space facing Joralemon. I’ve seen it covered at other parts of BQE. Most of the noise comes directly from bottom level and not the top. Overall not a big deal, but it would make a difference for those of living closer to the bottom.

  • AEB

    Thanks for the info–and the pep talk. Really.

    The (one?) problem is that many of us live in multi-unit apartment buildings without shall we say extra-attentive service personnel. Thus the thought of weeks of wet garbage collecting in unlined bins (because they won’t be brought to the curb regularly if at all), un-hosed because no one has a hose or cares to use it–well, you get the picture.

  • Banet

    You’re welcome. And yes, I expect the larger buildings with less than attentive staff will have the toughest time adjusting to this. But there is an upside — now the nastier garbage will be concentrated on one day of the week, making the other two garbage days less… odiferous.

    My biggest concern is for those who have recycling pick-up on Mondays. Those streets will end up with TWO weeks of compost when there are holidays that fall on Mondays. :-/

  • Jorale-man

    PSA: If you’re one of those people who must walk with your cellphone held out in front of you at all times, please keep in mind that BH’ sidewalks are very narrow in places. Sudden slowing down, swerving, or even stopping to read a text does not facilitate easy pedestrian flow. Please be mindful!
    Thank you.

  • Cranberry Beret

    There are 3 sizes of brown bins. Small looked to be for 1-2 family houses, medium for 3-4 and large for up to the max (8 or more units, can’t remember). I think they distributed based on counting number of doorbells.

  • Diesel

    Don’t know, but they sure smell interesting… Woof!

  • DIBS

    You can teach the ignorant but not the stupid.

  • Banet

    Thanks. I don’t think the size was based on a doorbell count though. I think someone pre-determined the size needed for each building because I notice the street number is scrawled on a lot of the brown bins in yellow grease pencil. Though, I suppose that pre-determination could have been based on a doorbell count.

    Regardless, the city is happy to trade out your bin for a bigger or smaller one if you ask.

  • SilverShoes

    Can anyone recommend a good exterior painter for brownstone trim and cornices? In need of scraping and painting, potentially minor repair.

  • Fed up with nonsense

    Garbage is what all of this nonsense. You are so special to have free time to figure how to deal with trash. Enough is enough. I am not putting garbage in my freezer. Its to small and a stupid idiotic solution. People have lost thier minds.

  • Carlo Trigiani

    Agreed!!!! Forget the compost. What’s NYC doing with the recycling? Are they actually recycling? For years they would make you separate your trash and supposedly it all went to the same landfill. Don’t we need the compostable trash in the landfill? Seems like it would help decompose the other trash, back to it’s natural state. Not to mention, what happens to all the starving groundhogs, rats, snails and worms who won’t have anything to eat at the landfill? Shouldn’t we as a civilized society consider their plight? For this I pay 13% of my income to the city and state. What a joke!!!

  • DIBS

    Many studies that show how uneconomical recycling really is.

  • bpelle

    I agree, also managed landfills produce valuable liquids and gasses from the rotting materials so it really makes more sense to handle things on the other side of the chain.

  • bpelle

    Also don’t stop at the top of the subway stairs to check your text messages.

  • Teresa

    Every Thursday and Saturday there’s a compost collection at the farmers market at Borough Hall, a joint effort among several organizations, including the Department of Sanitation. The compost goes to NYC urban farming and gardening projects. So if you don’t like the brown bin, or don’t have one, this is an option. I keep mine in the freezer until I can get to the market.

  • StudioBrooklyn
  • Stink

    Bully for you do -bee. I guess you dont have anything else to do. Why dont you sift through all the gabage in BH and optimize it for recycling.

  • Diesel
  • DIBS

    LOL. Or, even worse at the top of the escalator!!!!

  • DIBS

    Don’t be an a$$.

  • StudioBrooklyn

    Ooh can we all pile on with a laundry list of grievances? This one is a tourist hallmark, but what about the infuriating things locals do? Such as:

    Car B is behind Car A. Car A is waiting to turn right at a green light. Pedestrians are crossing the street, with the signal, obstructing Car A from turning. So what does Car B do? Starts honking, even though Car A has its turning signal on. This makes me want to pull driver B out of his/her car and secure his/her lips around his/her tailpipe, then run back to the driver’s seat, throw the car into neutral and floor it. Then maybe put it in reverse…

    Cigarette smokers: you don’t get a pass on littering just because you smoke like a mindless civilian. Crush out the cherry between your thumb and forefinger; the ash and tobacco will biodegrade naturally. Hold onto the butt and throw it out in a trash can like a decent human being. If you can’t manage that, quit smoking. What is this, amateur hour??

    Whew, that was cathartic. Now, back to enjoying city living…

  • StudioBrooklyn

    Great idea, but not sure they accept commenters named Stink in the Tuesday curbside pickup or the compost bins.

  • Banet

    While managed landfills do produce some valuable liquids and gasses, all of those liquids and gasses come from the decomposition of the compostable materials. If those materials are separated in advance the reclamation of the energy (in the form of liquid and gas) is far more cost effective and efficient.