The Washington Times - June 18, 2013, 08:41AM

Wilted lettuce, egg shells, potato parings: New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg hopes local city folk will compost their kitchen scraps in the name of green-minded citizenship, or, uh, incur a fine.

“This is a rotten idea for the Big Apple,” says Jeff Stier, the New York City-based director of risk analysis for the National Center for Public Policy Research. He’s quick to point out that his group supports voluntary composting. “In fact, we already have voluntary composting where residents can send kitchen scraps to gardens around the five boroughs,” Mr. Stier notes.

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“But we live in a big city, not on a farm, and while composting is a great idea in certain circumstances, it doesn’t make sense to mandate that all New York residents save their rotting food,” he says. “Consider the increased risks from disease-carrying vermin, a problem the city still hasn’t conquered, from all of the pre-compost material sitting around our dense living spaces.”

And what about greenhouse gas emissions from extra compost trucks rolling around the city? “Perhaps they’ll be carrot-peel powered,” Mr. Stier says.

Mr. Bloomberg, meanwhile, has been mulling over the idea of building a special energy plant that converts all that compost to bio-gas, and ultimately generates electricity. A pilot food composting project on Staten Island that includes 3,500 homes is already underway.

“It’s working,” the mayor told reporters on Monday, noting that he occasionally makes the environmental gesture himself.

“We don’t cook at home, but, yes, we have separate trash for composting stuff,” Mr. Bloomberg noted.