Now that the city has further expanded its composting efforts, the Department of Sanitation is mulling whether to include commercial businesses in its plans to reduce organic waste in landfills. Noted composting enthusiast and Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia will make a decision by July 1st on whether hotels, restaurants, grocery stores and other food-handling operations will be required to bring on the bins, reports Crains.

The Commissioner will look into things like waste volume, proximity to other food service establishments and the capacity at local composting sites to deal with the increase in food scraps. The city has already had success at the residential level, but adding the volume of commercial businesses could be too much to handle. "We'll certainly be interested in what the commissioner determines," said Hospitality Alliance executive director Andrew Rigie. "The restaurant industry is supportive of environmentally friendly practices, but we need to make sure any new requirements aren't operationally and cost-prohibitive."

Chef and owner Joaquin Baca of The Brooklyn Star in Williamsburg told us he'd happily participate and has implemented his own composting program in the past—with mixed results.

The problem we ran into was getting it picked up consistently, on a daily and efficient schedule. Most restaurant operators in this city are in pretty tight quarters. We don't have a nice little trash area at the furthest corner of our parking lot. We have to keep it neatly organized somewhere in our basement until it we can take it out for collection every night. Point being, we would need nicely sealed bins and 7 day pick up in order to keep our operations clean and vermin free. So another fleet of trucks...well, that's an expensive endeavor. And the logistical orchestration involved...not so simple. And that's just on the collection end.

Like The Brooklyn Star, some restaurants are already ahead of the curve and have been recycling some or all of their organic waste on their own dime. We've reached out to some industry friends to get their opinions on the possible city-mandated plan and how it would affect their business; we'll update when we hear back. But if this program does get implemented, perhaps restaurants will find even more creative ways to repurpose food scraps.