Jersey City is expanding its already successful composting program with the launch of curbside pickup, expansion of both backyard composting and the number of community drop-off locations citywide.

Business Administrator Brian Platt said the composting program, which started two years ago, allows residents to divert waste from landfills by picking out food from that process and instead use it to help fertilize parks and community gardens.

Platt said the city is partnering with a company that's composting the material and distributing the soil to landscapers, gardeners and anyone else who needs soil. As much as 90% of the weight of waste collected in a regular garbage collection can be composted.

Since the program started in 2018, nearly 33,000 pounds of composting has been collected in the municipality.

The city is expanding composting efforts by increasing the number of drop-off sites from three to eight to meet the growing demand and increase accessibility to encourage more participants. Platt said there are now drop-off sites in all neighborhoods of Jersey City. These sites have specific hours where residents can walk to a site so they can drop off their composting materials.

The backyard composting program has also been expanded, which allows residents to receive free bins to process their household's kitchen scraps into finished organic compost for use in their own gardens. Materials, training and workshops are all provided.

The third component of the expansion is a curbside pickup program, which allows Jersey City residents to put their composting materials on the curb on designated days at designated times and the city will pick it up. Platt said the cool part about this program is that an electric bicycle will be used for the pickups.

"We're thinking about sustainability and end to end efficiency in the reduction of the carbon footprint. We're using a vehicle that has zero carbon emissions as well," he said.

Platt said the composting program is so popular and has generated much interest. Already there are 120 sign-ups for the drop-off program that hasn't even started yet and more than 400 residents doing backyard composting.

Any resident interested in learning about what can be composted, how to compost or even to join training, can do so by going to www.jcmakeitgreen.org/composting.