GrowNYC Greenmarkets are opening for the season throughout the city, bringing with them not only a bounty of fresh regional products, but also expanding weekly opportunities for New Yorkers to recycle textiles and compost food scraps.
In 2007, GrowNYC’s newly-created Office of Recycling Outreach and Education began testing a program to collect clothing and textiles at Union Square and Grand Army Plaza Greenmarkets. Tax-deductible donations of textiles such as clothing, shoes and towels are collected and later sorted for reuse, or recycled into new products such as wiping rags and insulation. We quickly discovered New Yorkers’ dedication to living sustainably and have met their demand for more recycling--36 Greenmarkets now offer this service, with 10 new locations starting up this spring and summer.
Since 2011, GrowNYC has worked to complement existing Greenmarket food scrap collections run by BIG!Compost and the Lower East Side Ecology Center, to meet the growing chorus of Greenmarket shoppers wishing to bring back trimmings from their weekly market haul. Today, in partnership with the NYC Department of Sanitation and community partners, 38 Greenmarkets host food scrap drop-offs at least once a week. Material collected is transported to one of several local sites in the five boroughs where it is transformed into compost, a fertile soil amendment for use in urban farming and gardening programs.
GrowNYC has collected more than 2.7 million pounds of textiles and 2.85 million pounds of food scraps at dozens of Greenmarket collection sites throughout the city. Together, food scraps and textiles comprise 23% of NYC’s waste, making efforts like these critical to reducing the big apple’s environmental footprint.