Composting in New York: What To Know & Where to Go

Whether it’s bringing your own bag, buying a recycling bin, or shopping second hand, it’s important that we try to help our planet out. For New Yorkers, recycling is something that’s almost second nature at this point, but there are more ways we can help make our city green. For those who want to know how to compost in New York City, here’s all the information you need. 

First thing’s first, learn about what composting exactly is. Unlike trash or recycling, composting is actually a very simple way to give back to the earth. By taking leftover food scraps and adding them to soil can improve the soil’s texture while also making it richer and healthier. So, not only do you get to lessen the load of your trash bag while also helping Mother Nature.  

In New York City, there are a few options available for everyone to learn about how and where they can compost their leftover food scraps. On GrowNYC’s website, the organization lists off all locations where compost sites are listed across each borough. However, due to budget cuts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, some locations have closed. So, be mindful as to whether spots in your borough are listed as “open” or “closed.” Not only will the location be listed, but the site also shares the days and times these compost drop-offs occur. Not sure what exactly you can bring? The website also breaks down all items that are eligible for drop off. 

Dropping off location can be simple for some, but for others it may not be as accessible. Luckily, the New York Sanitation Department has recently announced that they are offering a new and improved curbside compost pickup for all of those who sign up. Enrollment starts in August, and all that’s necessary is to either fill out an online form or call 311 to let the department know you request curbside compost. If you don’t have a compost bin, the department will provide you with one. However, one important thing for New Yorkers to remember is that not all apartment buildings allow for composting pickup. If that’s the case, the department still encourages you to sign up so they can help you recruit the building. 

Finally, one easy way to compost is to embrace your green thumb. Many community gardens across the city are open for volunteers to compost their own food scraps and create something beautiful out of it. Even better, check to see if your local community gardens offer “Composting 101” seminars from an expert to learn all there is to know. Another way to compost that requires nearly no commute or hassle is by doing it in your very own backyard. Head to Home Depot, pick up some gardening tools and gloves, grab a compost bin, and get to work.  

In a city that’s all hustle and bustle, it can be nice to take a step back and give back to the wonderful parks and gardens surrounding you. Composting is actually a very simple and easy thing to do, and can become as second nature as taking out the trash or recycling.  

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