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GrowNYC Annual Report 2012 | Compost Happens

IMG_0710Turning Spoils into Soil: Food Scrap Collections Grow

Last year, staff from our Greenmarket and Office of Recycling Outreach and Education programs teamed up to plan and launch a food scrap collection program at 7 Greenmarket locations. This program complemented existing, ongoing Greenmarket food scrap collections conducted by community partners Lower East Side Ecology Center, Western Queens Compost Initiative, and the Ft. Greene Compost Project.

With generous funding provided by New York City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, this program began in March 2011 and in its first 13 months, diverted 441,000 pounds of food scrap for composting. Based on the success of this program, GrowNYC partnered with the NYC Department of Sanitation to launch the Greenmarket Food Scrap Compost Program. 25 Greenmarkets now have food scrap collection sites, of which 21 are managed directly by GrowNYC. DSNY services 16 of these locations, providing 64-gallon toter carts loaded with wood chips for the public to deposit their food scraps. All of the food scraps collected are composted locally at DSNY-managed composting sites or community composting partner locations. We have successfully diverted nearly 1 million pounds of food scraps diverted from disposal for composting from over 36,000 “donors.” GrowNYC has plans to work with DSNY to continue expanding the program even further to give more New Yorkers an opportunity to convert their food scraps into “black gold.” Stay in the loop… compost happens!

Click Here to learn more.

Read Columbia University’s State of the Planet blog post “Composting – Turning Garbage into Black Gold”


Community Compost Partners

Lower East Side Ecology Center
Earth Matter
BIG!Compost (formerly Western Queens Compost Initiative)
Gowanus Canal Conservancy
Added Value/Red Hook Community Farm
New York Restoration Project/Sherman Creek



Throughout the week I put my compost “leftovers” in the freezer (often times it takes up the entire space of my freezer) and Saturday mornings I pack it all up and head to the Greenmarkets with my dog (he enjoys trying to grab up fallen pieces from the ground). I belong to one of the local CSA’s in the area and while I regret not always being able to use it all, I’m glad that instead of throwing out the old veggies and having them become garbage, that they are able to essentially become useful again when I bring them in for composting. I like that you guys have pamphlets on composting at home (both indoors and outdoors) and have given them to my mom who lives outside the city. My family has been composting at Grand Army since GrowNYC began collecting there. My two sons, ages 3 and 6, enjoy coming along and helping scrape out our buckets while we catch up on the composting news. We think it’s fantastic to turn our food waste into something useful, rather than carting it several states away to a landfill.
—Steven O’Neill, Brooklyn, NY