In February 2012, I had the privilege to work with the Department of Education and parents from eight District 3 public schools to pilot what has grown to become the NYC Organics Collection Program.
By collecting food scraps from leftover lunches and replacing Styfofoam trays with biodegradable materials, we were able to reduce the volume of cafeteria garbage by 85%. That’s 450 pounds of food waste diverted from landfills per day.
As a result of this program’s success, GrowNYC and the Department of Sanitation began collecting food scraps for composting at NYC farmers markets and residential buildings. Today, this public-private partnership collects organic waste from 38 farmers markets, 33 residential buildings and 360 public schools. Since their launch, over 1,900 tons of organic waste has been diverted from disposal!
Food scraps make up 17% of NYC’s waste – the average New Yorker discards two pounds of organic garbage a day. Citywide, that’s a million tons a year! With the help of GrowNYC and the Department of Sanitation, New York is moving toward a sustainable system of recycling that yields big results for the environment.
Composting is the most eco-efficient way to recycle organic waste. By turning food scraps into nutrient-rich compost, New Yorkers can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, lower disposal costs, and contribute to the health and beauty of their neighborhoods.
Start Composting At Your Local Greenmarket!
The map below is your go-to guide for composting locations across New York City. Find a site near you and start helping make New York a healthier, more sustainable city.
Not sure what organics qualify for composting? Download this helpful guide: What to Compost