Celeste McMickle

Celeste McMickle

Celeste McMickle

Speaker | NYC Compost Project

South Fallsburg, NY | 646-416-0181 | celeste@celestial.solutions

Celeste has worked with municipalities including the New York City Department of Sanitation Bureau of Recycling and Sustainability to help implement their curbside organics rollout. She has conducted waste audits, written waste reduction plans, and trained with ZWIA to help businesses achieve zero waste goals, and assisted with waste tracking from homes to construction sites. She currently teaches the Master Composter certification at the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens and specializes in integrating organics collection into waste diversion strategies. Celeste has worked extensively with building owners and the public to promote education surrounding waste diversion tactics and design.

Presentation Title: Community Outreach Key to Successful Programs

Session: Creative Engagement with Stakeholders for Long-term Success

Time: Tuesday, January 29, 2:30 PM – 4:00 PM

Presentation Summary: Enthusiasm in Outreach–Using Community Outreach and Education as a Tool to Implement a Successful Food Scrap Collection Program.

New York City has been working hard to bring a curbside organics collection program to the residents of the city. This task is not without daunting challenges presented in part by the huge diversity that exists in New York. This diversity is present in both the built environment (buildings, neighborhoods, and infrastructure condition), but also in population (size, cultural and economic background, and language).

Through many trial and error attempts, New York has found a way to integrate education and outreach into their programming to bring the city up to speed with their composting and food scrap collection programs. The author has worked in several roles alongside this process first one of the outreach associates with the Department of Sanitation, and also as the educator for the city wide “Master Composter Certification” program which trains composting ‘ambassadors’ to help increase awareness surrounding compost and food waste reductions issues on a city wide basis. Both roles have a high priority in working in the field and with the public to help them understand the program, the effort, and the result. One of the key differences is that the outreach associates are working with the public who may have little to no interest in a food scrap collection program, while the Master Composters are eager to learn.

In this presentation I will discuss the challenges and successes of bringing a food waste collection program to a city as large and diverse as New York and how I believe that continued efforts in education and outreach can really make a difference in getting success rates for municipalities attempting to either integrate a new food waste collection service into their district, or to increase participation and reduce contamination levels in an existing program.