compost

Green Your Halloween!

Green HalloweenWith Halloween 2014 coming on the heels of the BoxTrolls movie, recycled (and recyclable) cardboard costumes are sure to be in high demand.  Even if you won’t be creating one of these characters, we’ve got great tips for greening this season of ghosts and gourds.   

* Make crafty trick-or-treat sacks using recyclable paper bags and paper scraps or put removable decorations on tote bags or pillow cases for an extra sturdy, reusable option. Find great ideas for decorations, party planning, costumes and more at planetpals.com.

* Create costumes from items you already own and avoid purchasing unnecessary single-use items. Find new-to-you ensembles and donate your old ones at GrowNYC's Halloween Costume Swaps on October 25 and 26 or try your local thrift store for inspiration.  Get great recyclable costume ideas for all ages from the Cardboard Costume Challenge and Inhabitots.

* When you're finished showing off your costume, recycle it! Use your building's textile bin if you have one or find a Greenmarket collection near you.

* Compost your jack-o-lantern in your backyard or curbside collection bin, at a Greenmarket food scrap collection or see if community groups and gardens near you accept scraps for composting.  Make it a family affair, complete with snacks, at a Pumpkin Smash 2014 event, sponsored by the NYC Compost Project.  

* Too much candy?  Find a local dentist participating in Halloween Candy Buyback, where kids can get prizes or even cash.  Candy is donated to Operation Gratitude, for inclusion in care packages for troops overseas. 

Recycling at Greenmarkets as Bountiful as the Produce

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 Sustainability Center at Greenmarketclothing, 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. 

Find a list of Greenmarkets accepting food scraps at www.grownyc.org/compost and a list of textile collection sites at www.grownyc.org/clothing, or call 212-788-7964.

Green Living Team Unites Residents and Staff to Revive Recycling

WSFSSH Green Living Team Unites Around Organics Collection

Food has always been common ground that brings people together.  Now, some New Yorkers are uniting over the scraps. This year the West Side Federation of Senior Supportive Housing (WSFSSH) hosted a Living Green Team Awards Ceremony, to celebrate and recognize superintendents and building managers who set the standard in energy efficiency and water conservation, among other environmental initiatives.  In April the 24-building, 1,800+ unit housing and social service agency honored five representatives of buildings that partnered with GrowNYC to improve solid waste management through recycling and composting. More...

GrowNYC Community Compost Partner Profile: Gowanus Canal Conservancy

GrowNYC collects food scraps and other organic waste at various Greenmarkets around the city to distribute to local compost partners in the surrounding area. With the help of community volunteers, New York City’s recycled food scraps are transformed into a nutrient rich soil amendment for farming and greening purposes throughout the five boroughs.

A few minutes’ walk from the F train, Gowanus Canal Conservancy’s (GCC) Salt Lot hosts a monthly compost windrow build for volunteers from around the city. November’s volunteers included about a dozen students from the Brooklyn Technical High School’s Red Cross Club, a group of elementary students from a Bed-Stuy Charter School, and a myriad of volunteers simply happy to enjoy an outdoor-community activity.

Sam and Maria Pruden of Harlem join GCC monthly to participate in composting. Behind Sam and Maria is an illustration of the compost build and process.

The volunteers arrived ready to tackle the record-breaking 10,000 pounds of food scraps that had been collected from four Greenmarkets the day before. The bins of food scraps are dumped and mixed in a large pile on the ground with leaves and yard scraps, taking about 4 hours. The pile, or windrow, will sit for two weeks, and then be turned by a GCC staff member once a week for the following four weeks, before it is sifted to make a final product. At the end of these six weeks, GCC has a fertile soil amendment for tree pits and rain gardens that help prevent polluted water from entering the canal.

Two students from Brooklyn Technical School’s Red Cross Club carry a bin of food scraps to the compost pile to be mixed with leaves and other dry yard trimmings.

GCC Coordinators Jared McGuire and Christine Petro, sift processed compost to make final product with a Bed-Stuy group leader.

Christine Petro has been volunteering with GCC for almost two years and has noticed a steady increase in the amount of food scraps being delivered from the weekend markets over the past three months. Salt Lot is just one of many community compost sites around the city. Asked about the objective of these local projects, she says, “The objective is twofold: to have a positive environmental impact for the surrounding community, and also to teach the practice of composting for educational and applications going forward.”

Jared McGuire and Christine Petro, GCC Volunteer Coordinators.

Greenmarket Food Scrap Collection Surpasses 2 Million Pound Mark

Since 2011, GrowNYC has worked to expand food scrap collections at Greenmarket. In partnership with the NYC Department of Sanitation, the program has grown to 30 markets, averaging 100,000 pounds a month diverted from disposal and used locally for renewable energy or fertile compost for urban farms, gardens and more.

To date more than 2 million pounds of food scraps have been dropped at market, which would fill enough of our collection boxes to create a stack taller than Mount Everest! But the impact is even greater: every apple core deposited in a compost bin has been a vote for increased composting citywide, which has come to fruition with the Department of Sanitation’s new Organics Collection Program. Keep on composting!

Read the complete press release here.

NYC Residential Organics Collection is Growing!

Morningside Gardens Composts

(Residents at the Morningside Gardens cooperative celebrate their new compost program)

Organics make up almost 30% of NYC's residential and institutional waste stream. This includes yard waste, food scraps, compostable paper (tissues, napkins, soiled paper, paper plates, etc.), and other materials suitable for industrial-scale composting.

By collecting this material, NYC can reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill and incinerators, reducing expensive export costs and greenhouse gas emissions, all while generating a valuable material that can be used as fertilizer in NYC parks and gardens.

In May of 2013, the NYC Department of Sanitation (DSNY) began a bold, new initiative to provide curbside collection of organics. The Program started in Westerleigh, Staten Island and this fall has expanded to include communities in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Staten Island, with further expansion in the spring of 2014.        

Wondering how you can participate? 

The City provided bins and participation instructions to buildings with 1-9 units included in the pilot areas. DSNY is also recruiting large apartment buildings—on the west side of Manhattan, in parts of Brooklyn, and on Staten Island—to participate in the program. GrowNYC is assisting with this effort, and we can help your building with the signup process, and to prepare your tenants and staff to participate. 

Take Morningside Gardens, who joined the DSNY Organics Collection Program in June, for example. Prior to the program’s implementation, many of the residents dropped off food scraps at GrownNYC’s Columbia Greenmarket and a group of residents formed a Compost Club.  GrowNYC worked with club members, property management, and the co-op board to help the 980-unit complex create a plan to establish organics collection to be serviced by DSNY.  GrowNYC provided hands-on assistance in creating a suite of educational materials and training to ensure that staff and residents were well-informed about the program, which included mailers detailing the program, attendance at a series of public meetings, and signage in every trash room.

With the addition of this initiative, Morningside Gardens now diverts 39% of all waste from landfills through recycling and composting, compared to an average diversion rate of 14% for their community district as a whole.  Overall improvement of waste separation and storage has also reduced the presence of rats on the property. To highlight the success of the program at Morningside Gardens, Mayor Bloomberg chose the site as the location to announce the expansion of the DSNY Organics Collection Program and to launch the “Recycle Everything” advertising campaign in July of 2013.

Does your apartment building want to take recycling to the next level? 

Get more information on Organics Collection in Large Residential Buildings and contact GrowNYC’s Office of Recycling Outreach and Education to get started. 

 

 

Food Scrap Collection Passes the ONE MILLION POUND Mark

On Sunday, city officials, community partners, and compost enthusiasts gathered at the Carroll Gardens Greenmarket to celebrate a benchmark for GrowNYC’s food scrap collection program: ONE MILLION POUNDS!

Since the pilot program launched in March 2011, one million pounds of food scraps have been dropped off at Greenmarket’s collection sites, diverting that much food from the waste stream.

Emily Rubenstein, Assistant Commissioner of Sanitation, Recycling and Sustainability at DSNY, City Council Member Brad Lander, Birdie NYC and GrowNYC Executive Director Marcel Van Ooyen applauded the efforts of all those who have made this achievement possible.

“We’re thrilled that Speaker Quinn and the New York City Council helped launch the compost program last year and that DSNY stepped in this year to bring the successful pilot to the next level.  We’re demonstrating that the City of New York is not lagging far behind California and other places where compost has taken root. New Yorkers across the City are eager to participate and reduce waste while creating a valuable resource that will benefit local gardens and farms,” said GrowNYC Executive Director Marcel Van Ooyen.

Look up your nearest food scrap drop-off site here, and find out what can be contributed here. Once it’s dropped off, the material is transported to compost sites and urban agriculture projects within the five boroughs. We’re also signing people up for our winter incentive program—the Winter Compost Warrior. Visitors can sign in at our info tent when they visit the market, noting their weekly attendance and compost contribution. There’s a compost-related prize in it for those Winter Compost Warriors who check in ten or more times in the coming twelve weeks.

At the beginning of the New Year, this monumental benchmark lets us set a new goal for the year ahead. How much compost can we make in 2013?

Food Scrap & Textile Recycling at More Greenmarkets!

What better way to celebrate Earth Day than by visiting your local Greenmarket to recycle food scraps and textiles? GrowNYC is happy to help, with new sites for dropping off unwanted clothing, linens, and fruit & veggie scraps opening this weekend and throughout the Spring. Thanks to the support of community partners the Western Queens Compost Initiative, Lower East Side Ecology Center and Wearable Collections, this collective effort takes aim at nearly one-quarter of NYC’s residential waste stream and has diverted 1.8 million pounds from disposal so far. Here’s a handy chart to help you locate collection sites near you. Please note the hours for each collection differ from each other as well as market hours, due to routing and scheduling requirements of our community partners. Learn more about textile recycling and what to bring and find out what’s accepted for composting.

BOROUGH GREENMARKET ACCEPTING TEXTILES? ACCEPTING FOOD SCRAPS?
Brooklyn Bay Ridge Greenmarket 3rd Ave & 95th St NO YES - Saturdays, 8am-1pm thru Nov 17, 2012
Brooklyn Brooklyn Borough Hall Greenmarket Court & Montague YES - Saturdays, 8am-4:30pm YES - Saturdays, 8am-4pm
Brooklyn Carroll Gardens Greenmarket Carroll St b/t Smith & Court YES - Sundays, 8am-2:30pm YES - Sundays, 8am-1pm
Brooklyn Cortelyou Greenmarket b/t Argyle & Rugby Rds YES - Sundays, 8am-3pm YES - Sundays, 8am-1pm
Brooklyn Ft. Greene Greenmarket Washington Park at DeKalb YES - Saturdays, 8am-3pm YES - Saturdays, 8am-3pm
Brooklyn Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket NW corner of Prospect Park YES - Saturdays, 8am-4pm YES - Saturdays, 8am-3:30pm
Brooklyn McCarren Park Greenmarket Union Ave and Driggs YES - Saturdays, 8am-2pm YES - Saturdays, 8am-2pm
Brooklyn Sunset Park Greenmarket 4th Ave b/t 59th & 60th Sts NO YES - Saturdays, 8am-1pm thru Nov 17, 2012
Brooklyn Windsor Terrace - PS 154 Greenmarket PS 154, 11th Ave b/t Sherman & Windsor Pl NO YES - Sundays, 9am-1pm thru Nov 18, 2012
Manhattan 57th St Greenmarket 57th St & 9th Ave YES - Saturdays, 8am-12:30pm thru Dec 22, 2012 YES - Saturdays, 8am-1pm thru Dec 22, 2012
Manhattan 79th St Greenmarket 79th & Columbus NO YES - Sundays, 9am-1pm
Manhattan 82nd St Greenmarket 82nd St b/t 1st & York YES - Saturdays, 9am-2pm YES - Saturdays, 9am-1pm
Manhattan 92nd Street Greenmarket 92nd St & 1st Ave NO YES - Sundays, 9am-1pm thru Dec 23, 2012
Manhattan 97th St Greenmarket W 97th & Columbus YES - Fridays, 8am-2pm NO
Manhattan Abingdon Square Greenmarket W12th St & 8th Ave YES - Saturdays, 8am-1pm YES - Saturdays, 8am-1pm
Manhattan Columbia University Greenmarket Broadway b/t 114th & 115th Sts YES - Sundays, 8am-3pm YES - Sundays, 8am-1pm
Manhattan Dag Hammarskjold Plaza Greenmarket E 47th St & 2nd Ave YES - Wednesdays, 8am-3pm NO
Manhattan Inwood Greenmarket Isham b/t Seaman & Cooper YES - Saturdays, 8am-3pm YES - Saturdays, 8am-12pm
Manhattan Tompkins Square Greenmarket E 7th St & Ave A YES - Sundays, 8am-4pm YES - Sundays, 8am-1pm
Manhattan Tribeca Greenmarket Greenwich St at Chambers YES - Saturdays, 8am-1:30pm YES - Saturdays, 8am-1pm
Manhattan Tucker Square Greenmarket 66th St & Columbus Ave NO YES - Saturdays, 8am-1pm
Manhattan Union Square Greenmarket NE Section of Union Square Park YES - Saturdays and Mondays, 8am-4pm YES - Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat, 8am-5pm
Queens Jackson Heights Greenmarket 34th Ave b/t 77 & 78 Sts YES - Sundays, 8am-2pm YES - Sundays, 9am-12pm
Queens Socrates Sculpture Park Greenmarket Vernon and Broadway NO YES - Saturdays, 9am-12pm thru Nov 17, 2012
Queens Sunnyside Greenmarket Skillman Ave b/t 42 & 43 St NO YES - Saturdays, 9am-12pm thru Nov 17, 2012
Staten Island St. George Greenmarket St. Marks & Hyatt St YES - Saturdays, 8am-1:30pm thru Nov 17, 2012 YES - Saturdays, 8am-1pm thru Nov 17, 2012
Staten Island Staten Island Mall Greenmarket Richmond Ave entrance (Parking Lot) YES - Saturdays, 9am-3pm thru Nov 17, 2012 YES - Saturdays, 9am-1pm thru Dec 22, 2012

How to Compost at Greenmarket in 3 Simple Steps

First-time composters wonder about the best way to get their veggie trimmings to the compost collection. Here's our quick guide:

1) Get a storage container. Anything from a 32-ounce yogurt container or plastic bag to a covered pail will do the job. Check out our slideshow for more ideas.

2) Keep it cool. Store scraps in the freezer or fridge to reduce odors at home and at the Greenmarket.

3) Bring it to the market. Stop by the compost tent and empty your container into our receptacle. You can reduce waste by reusing the same container. After you shop you can drop in unwanted carrot tops, corn husks, radish greens, etc before leaving the market. That's it!

Learn more about what you can and can't compost.

Compost in all shapes and sizes

GrowNYC just announced that our 4-month compost collection pilot at select Greenmarkets has been extended through December 31, 2011, so to celebrate the program and the 116,265 pounds of kitchen scraps New Yorkers have contributed, we thought we'd take a look at some of the most fun ways people have been storing and transporting compost.

Special thanks to volunteer Nicholas Knoll for sharing his photo skills!

Have a cool photo of your compost solution? Post it on our Facebook page!

Learn more about GrowNYC's compost program.

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