Hats off to the Rye City Council for its decision to hold off on food scrap pick-up. I’m writing as a Rye resident who is involved with reducing greenhouse gas emissions. I founded a car company, Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus, that pioneered the use of a kinetic energy recovery system now widely used in electric vehicles; won an FIA World Champion Cup in Alternative Energies; and is developing a game-changing approach to green transportation. (See Neil, D., 2022, “Dude, Where’s My Hydrogen-Powered Car?” Wall Street Journal,February 10.)
At their March 16 meeting, the City Council explored the pros and cons of the City continuing to pick up food scraps. Some speakers praised the pilot program and asked the Council to continue it. Others said participation by residents who had volunteered to be part of the pilot program was disappointingly low and noted that greenhouse gas emissions from an underutilized DPW diesel truck are significant. The Council concluded that the program cost tax dollars and employee time and was likely not benefiting the environment. That sounds correct to me. I understand the emotional appeal of the test program, but I’m glad the City had the fortitude to dispense with it.
While ending food scrap pick-up, the City will continue to accept food scraps dropped off at DPW. This, too, is apparently failing to decrease net greenhouse gas emissions. The reason is the distance Rye’s food scraps are transported for processing. At the moment, the City has no alternative. Happily, that should change when the County or waste entrepreneurs develop adequate facilities nearby.
All this is a reminder that protecting the environment is complicated. Measures that feel good may not actually do good. The City is taking a thoughtful, data-driven approach, as it should.
- Jim Glickenhaus