QUEENS, N.Y. (PIX11) — Don’t throw food waste into the trash. That’s the message to residents of Queens as boroughwide curbside composting collection restarts Monday after a break for the winter.

Nearly 13 million pounds of food waste and organics from New York City are not rotting in landfills. The Department of Sanitation said that’s the amount of materials Queens residents diverted from the trash last year during the first phase of curbside composting. 

It’s a major part of the way New York City and the Department of Sanitation are dealing with trash. 

Curbside compost collection began in 2022 in the entire borough of Queens. Brown bins were distributed to homes and buildings and placed curbside on the regular recycling day. 

Curbside composting will expand to Brooklyn on Oct. 2. Next March, it goes to the Bronx and Staten Island and then the entire borough of Manhattan in October 2024. 

The city program is voluntary. There have been trial programs in neighborhoods throughout the years. 

Four hundred orange containers are also being placed in neighborhoods around New York City on sidewalks to collect food waste. Neighbors use an app on their phone to open the large permanent containers. 

On April 1, rules for garbage collection will also change citywide. The new regulations change the time it can be set on the sidewalk. 

At 6 p.m., it can be set out only in containers. Bags can be set on the sidewalk after 8 p.m. Larger apartment buildings can apply for a morning time. 

Sanitation crews are picking up more routes during the midnight shift.