NYC Zero Waste During COVID-19

The coronavirus outbreak has suspended many of the zero waste programs New Yorkers have come to rely on, including GrowNYC’s zero waste programs, DSNY’s curbside compost program, and the citywide network of food scrap drop-off sites. 

While GrowNYC’s zero waste services are not currently operational, we know our community continues to care about the long-term sustainability of our city and looks to us for information.  The resources and updates below are subject to change--please check host information before you go and be patient as the city works through this public health crisis.  Remember, it's great to recycle and rot, but it's best to reduce and reuse to prevent waste!

Household Recyclables

  • NYC’s curbside recycling program is still in effect. Thank a sanitation worker, and make sure to check recycling rules and rinse containers! 

Food Waste

Clothing + Textiles

Electronics

Reusable Items

Handy Tips for a Sustainable Holiday

November 26, 2019
Posted in Recycling | Tagged recycle

 

Green Your Holidays

Making a list of how to green your holidays? Here are some of our favorite tips and events to cure the post-holiday blues.

Pre-cycle

Whether you're hosting a gathering or just giving and receiving, clearing out excess can make for a more sustainable holiday season.  Find new homes for unwanted items through clothing collections, coat drives, Stop 'N' Swap® events, holiday toy drives, or DonateNYC reuse partners--you'll have more room to celebrate, and an easier time recycling and reusing your post-holiday waste.

Sending cards?

Try e-cards or look for greetings made with recycled content (the more post-consumer content, the better).

Giving gifts?

Show some style when shopping by bringing your own reusable bags. Choose minimally-packaged items made with recycled content and give items that will be treasured, not thrown out before the next holiday season. Consider giving experiences, homemade, and vintage gifts. Find new joy in old favorites that are broken or need refreshing with Fixers Collective. Get hundreds of toy-free gift ideas for a more meaningful holiday here and here, and get great tips from Wired's review of the 5 Best Toys of All Time.  Remember to wrap it recyclable by using old newspaper, paper gift wrap, paper gift bags, or reusable bags and containers that keep on giving all year. 

Preparing a holiday meal?

Look for items in recyclable packaging and buy minimally- or non-packaged fresh produce, like that from Greenmarket. Get meal planning and food storage tips from Save the Food, and read a thorough overview of sustainable Thanksgiving meal planning.    Easily compost vegetable trimmings by using drop-offs at select Greenmarkets and other locations. Serve your masterpiece on reusable plates and offer guests reusable flatware, glassware, and napkins.  Prevent waste by making small changes such as using recyclable aluminum foil rather than plastic wrap for food storage.

Stuck with clean up duties?

Wrapping paper, gift boxes, cardboard, and other paper packaging can go out with other paper recycling (remove tape, ribbons, and other decorations).  Eggnog cartons, wine bottles, olive containers, cookie tins, and hard-to-open rigid plastic packaging are easy to recycle alongside the rest of your metal, glass, plastic, and cartons.  If your curbside recycling day falls on Christmas and New Year's Day, here's when to set out recycling, garbage, and organics (if participating).  Foam peanut packaging and plastic foam blocks are not recyclable, but alternative paper packaging can be included in your recycling pile.  Foam peanuts can be reused at select shipping centers and Manhattan Mailroom locations, and cornstarch peanuts can be composted.  For those so inclined, even corks can be recycled—find drop-sites here

Too many leftovers?

Save take-out containers to send guests home with another helping.  Check the shelf life of open and unopened food and get storage tips to make the most of food and create less waste at stilltasty.com.

Post-Holiday Recycling Events to Cure the Winter Blues

Recycle Your Tree.

If you're putting up a real tree for the holidays, plan to chip in at MulchFest!  Trees (cleaned of stands, lights, tinsel and ornaments) will be collected and recycled into mulch for NYC parks at designated sites from December 26, 2019 - January 11, 2020. Bring your own bag to chipping sites and take home mulch for your yard, garden or street tree. Find citywide drop-off sites and mulch pick-up locations here*. If you miss MulchFest, the city will pick up trees (also stripped of ornaments, etc) curbside from January 6 - 17, barring any snow disruptions. 

Recycle Unwanted Electronics.

Certain electronics are banned from disposal.  When upgrading or unloading electronics, many recycling options are available at no cost, including curbside pickup for homes in the outerborosFind more recycling resources here and check in with the Lower East Side Ecology Center, which runs the Gowanus E-Waste Warehouse in Brooklyn and hosts "After the Holidays" e-waste collections in all five boroughs.

Loosen Your Drawers.

Clear out ill-fitting, outdated and otherwise unwanted clothing, shoes, and linens and bring them to one of GrowNYC's weekly collections for reusable clothing and other textiles.

Swap Your Stuff.

GrowNYC's Stop 'N' Swap® is the ultimate re-gifting party. Bring reusable items to share (portable items only) or simply bring a tote bag or two to take home things you can put to reuse. Unstuff your home at one of two swaps in December, or find winter swap dates and locations at GrowNYC.org/swap.

 

From all of us at GrowNYC, thank you for helping green our city by taking our "recycling challenge" at community events, volunteering as an Environmental Ambassador, dropping off clothing and food scraps at our Greenmarkets, attending our Stop 'N' Swaps, and more throughout 2019. We look forward to seeing you out at many of the great recycling events that will kick off a sustainable 2020. Happy Holidays!

Fall Leaf Composting: It’s in the Bag

October 21, 2019
Posted in Recycling | Tagged compost, fall leaves, zero waste

The humble fall leaf packs a punch when used as compost or mulch to return nutrients to the soil.  When landfilled, leaves create methane, a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change.  Fortunately, it’s easy to put fall leaves to good use through composting! 

WHERE TO COMPOST

Certain neighborhoods can set out fall leaves for curbside collection on specific Saturdays this fall.  Communities that receive NYC curbside composting service can set out leaves along with their other organics.  Residents with no curbside option can utilize drop-off sites in all 5 boros.  Leaves placed on the curb for collection should go in paper lawn & leaf bags, open, unlined containers, or brown organics bins.  Do not set out leaves in plastic bags.  Learn more at nyc.gov/leafcollection.

GROWNYC LEAF BAG GIVEAWAYS

Stop by select GrowNYC food scrap drop-offs and take home free leaf bags, while supplies last! Leaf bags are also available at outerboro retailers and giveaways

2019 Leaf Bag Giveaway Schedule
(during food scrap collection hours)

Sunday, November 10
Carroll Gardens Greenmarket
Cortelyou Greenmarket

Tuesday, November 12
Poe Park Greenmarket

Thursday, November 14
Brooklyn Borough Hall Greenmarket
Parkside Plaza Compost On-the-Go

Friday, November 15
Fordham Plaza Greenmarket
Parkchester Greenmarket

Saturday, November 16
Bay Ridge Greenmarket
St. George Greenmarket
Staten Island Mall Greenmarket
McCarren Park Greenmarket
Fort Greene Greenmarket
Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket
Brooklyn Borough Hall Greenmarket

Sunday, November 17
Carroll Gardens Greenmarket
Cortelyou Greenmarket
Jackson Heights Greenmarket
Forest Hills Greenmarket

Tuesday, November 19
Elmhurst Compost On-the-Go
Rego Park Compost On-the-Go
Kew Gardens Compost On-the-Go
Briarwood Compost On-the-Go
Poe Park Greenmarket

Thursday, November 21
Brooklyn Borough Hall
Parkside Plaza Compost On-the-Go

Friday, November 22
Corona Greenmarket
Fordham Plaza Greenmarket
Parkchester Greenmarket

Saturday, November 23
McCarren Park Greenmarket
Fort Greene Greenmarket
Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket
Brooklyn Borough Hall Greenmarket

Sunday, November 24
Carroll Gardens Greenmarket
Cortelyou Greenmarket
Jackson Heights Greenmarket
Forest Hills Greenmarket

Tuesday, November 26
Elmhurst Compost On-the-Go
Rego Park Compost On-the-Go
Kew Gardens Compost On-the-Go
Briarwood Compost On-the-Go
Poe Park Greenmarket

Saturday, November 30
McCarren Park Greenmarket
Fort Greene Greenmarket
Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket
Brooklyn Borough Hall Greenmarket
Sunnyside Greenmarket

Sunday, December 1
Jackson Heights Greenmarket
Forest Hills Greenmarket

Tuesday, December 3
Elmhurst Compost On-the-Go
Rego Park Compost On-the-Go
Kew Gardens Compost On-the-Go
Briarwood Compost On-the-Go

Friday, December 6
Corona Greenmarket

Caught Up in Kondo? Don’t Spark Joy in Landfills!

April 6, 2019
Posted in Recycling | Tagged swap, reuse, donate, recycle, reduce


Making up just 5% of the world’s population, the US consumes 30% of the world’s resources and creates 30% of the world’s waste.  We have so much stuff that finding a place to put it is big business; the self-storage industry is booming. Today, it is physically possible for every American to stand at the same time under the canopy of self-storage roofing in the US.  It’s no surprise, then, that Marie Kondo, author of best-selling book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” has started a de-cluttering craze.

On her Netflix show, Kondo teaches clients to make their homes more livable through her special organizing process. The result is large piles of garbage bags filled with clothing, home furnishings, and other items that no longer “spark joy” for their owners.  Read on for tips to break free of clutter, sustainably! 

The true solution to too much stuff, of course, is to consume less, buy better, and care for what we already have—this makes it easier to maintain a comfortable home, and helps the planet too!  Next time you put your stuff on the curb, consider that for every garbage can placed out for collection, the equivalent of 71 garbage cans' worth of waste is created in mining, agriculture and other industrial processes to convert raw materials into finished products and packaging. 

Tips to Responsibly De-Clutter Your Life:

1: Clear it out.  To achieve the highest use for unwanted items, choose to swap or donate what’s usable.  For items such as electronics, household chemicals, and personal documents, check out local resources and special events to recycle or safely dispose.   Need a little extra help getting started? Check out How to Declutter Your Home Fast: A Checklist for the Messy.

2: Get organized.When you’ve successfully pared down, reorder your home for daily life.Good organization keeps you from buying things you don’t need or already own, and can create a happier, less stressful living environment.Check out 10 Ways to Unclutter Your Life.  

3: Change habits.To remain clutter free, slow the flow of new things into your home.  Prevent future waste buy buying wisely—choose high quality items you truly need and intend to use.  Try out zero waste practices like repairing what you already own and love,  (see Fixers Collective, Mend It Mondays, Fix It Fridays) and buying bulk and package-free groceries.  Spend less time shopping and managing stuff, and more time on non-commercial activities like enjoying culture, spending time in nature, and volunteering.

Want to stay on top of NYC zero waste news and resources? Subscribe to our monthly NYC Recycling Updates!

GrowNYC's 2019 Compost Giveaway

April 5, 2019

From May 24 to June 5, the GrowNYC Compost Program will give out free ready-to-use compost to participants who drop off their food scraps. Finished compost is a natural fertilizer that you can apply to houseplants and outdoor plants. The distributed compost is courtesy of the NYC Department of Sanitation (DSNY) and made out of residential food scraps and yard waste from New York City. For more information about getting compost from DSNY, visit nyc.gov/getcompost

Please see below for the schedule of Compost Giveaway events and refer to the Compost Program Schedule for site-specific hours. Note: additional dates for giveaways at seasonal locations will be announced soon.

The compost distribution will take place during food scrap drop-off hours at each site, while supplies last. In an effort to reuse, reduce, and recycle, we are asking participants to bring their own container. Bring a coffee beans bag, shopping bag, brown bag, cereal bag, clamshell, etc. to fill with loose compost on the day of the Compost Giveaway at your food scrap drop-off site.

 

2019 Compost Giveaway Schedule

 

Friday, May 24
149th Street Compost On-The-Go  
161st Street Compost On-The-Go
Brook Avenue Compost On-The-Go· 
    
Saturday, May 25
Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket
Inwood Greenmarket
Staten Island Mall Greenmarket
Saint George Greenmarket
    
Sunday, May 26
Carroll Gardens Greenmarket
Cortelyou Greenmarket

Tuesday, May 28
Bowling Green Greenmarket
Lenox Hill Fresh Food Box

Wednesday, May 29
96th Street Compost On-The-Go
116th Street Compost On-The-Go
137th Street City College - Compost On-The-Go
145th Street Compost On-The-Go
157th Street Compost On-The-Go         
181st Street Compost On-The-Go    
Cathedral Parkway (110th Street) Compost On-The-Go
Central Park North (110th Street) Compost On-The-Go
Dyckman Street Compost On-The-Go
Project H.O.P.E Fresh Food Box
Uptown Grand Central Fresh Food Box

Thursday, May 30
BronxWorks Fresh Food Box
Brooklyn Borough Hall Greenmarket
Columbia Greenmarket
Nos Quedamos Public Food Scrap Drop-Off Site
Parkside Plaza Compost On-The-Go
Tucker Square Greenmarket

Friday, May 31
97th Street Greenmarket

Saturday, June 1
57th Street Greenmarket
82nd Street Greenmarket
462 Halsey Community Farm Fresh Food Box
Abingdon Square Greenmarket
Brooklyn Borough Hall Greenmarket
Fort Greene Greenmarket
McCarren Park Greenmarket
TriBeCa Greenmarket
Tucker Square Greenmarket

Sunday, June 2
79th Street Greenmarket
Columbia Greenmarket
Tompkins Square Greenmarket

Wednesday, June 5
57th Street Greenmarket
Dag Hammarskjold Plaza Greenmarket
TriBeCa Greenmarket

 

It Takes a Metropolis

March 9, 2019


Every year hundreds of everyday heroes help guide their fellow New Yorkers down the path to zero waste by keeping clothing and food scraps out of landfills, reusing items too good to toss, and by adopting new habits to reduce waste and recycle more.  Check out our new video to peek into the exciting world of our zero waste volunteers and the invaluable work that they do! Itching to get involved? Follow the link to sign up for an upcoming orientation or opportunity: http://bit.ly/recycleopps

Host Your Own Community Swap!

January 2, 2019

Hosting a Swap is as Easy as D-I-Y with GrowNYC’s Guide to Community Reuse Events

We are pleased to announce the release of our new DIY Swap Guide!

Since 2007, GrowNYC has hosted 270 Stop ‘N’ Swap® community reuse events across all five boroughs. Our goal is to provide each of NYC’s 59 community districts an annual opportunity to find new homes for unwanted items that might otherwise end up in a landfill.  Still, the demand for reuse and desire to host and participate in community swaps extends beyond our program’s capacity. We created this guide to assist schools, community organizations, and passionate individuals interested in hosting their own swap events!

Whether you are looking to host a curated event for items such as clothes, books, or toys, or a big event where anything goes, the guide will help you identify an event location, map out your swap footprint, gather event materials, outline a training for your volunteers, and more.  We hope this guide will be a launching pad for more free reuse events across NYC.  

If you use our guide to host a swap, we’d love to hear from you! Feel free to send us a note at recycle@grownyc.org or tag us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram (@GrowNYC). 

Need further incentive to try out some creative reuse ideas in your neighborhood? Citizens Committee is currently accepting applications for micro-grants of up to $3,000 to resident-led groups working on community projects in the NYC, including those related to waste diversion. For more information, visit their website here.

Happy swapping! 

Celebrating Our 250th Stop ‘N’ Swap®

September 21, 2018
Posted in Recycling | Tagged swap, Stop 'N' Swap, reduce, reuse, recycle

Stop 'N' Swap 250

At GrowNYC, there’s no stopping when it comes to swapping!  In an effort to reduce NYC’s waste and help more New Yorkers reuse perfectly good items, our zero waste programs funded by DSNY set out to provide an annual swap event for every community district in the five boroughs. 

This year we celebrate our 250th Stop ‘N’ Swap in NYC – all thanks to dedicated staff, our passionate volunteers, and diverse community partners, who make more than 50 swaps a year possible!

At Stop ‘N’ Swap, the public is invited to bring clean, portable, reusable items to share with those who can use them. No one is required to bring something to take something — you can simply show up with a bag and see what’s free for the taking. Clothing, books, housewares, electronics, and toys are just some of the offerings.  Recent memorable treasures include peanut butter and jelly pillowcases, pocket mouse, grass jelly, an amateur radio calendar, and plants potted just for fellow swappers (view photos).

Since 2008, more than 62,000 New Yorkers have attended a Stop ‘N’ Swap co-hosted by more than 135 different community partners and supported by over 1,200 volunteers.  In just 5 years, participants have kept more than half a million pounds of reusable items out of landfills. 

80% of products in the US are used once, then thrown away — find a Stop 'N' Swap near you and start reusing today!

2018 Compost Giveaway

June 26, 2018
Posted in Recycling



Springtime food scraps bring summer givebacks!  Thanks to you, GrowNYC has collected more than 11 million pounds of food scraps that have been transformed into compost to nourish NYC green spaces--including yours!  Check out our July giveback schedule and bring your own container to one of GrowNYC's food scrap drop-off locations to take all the compost you can use.  First come first served, while supplies last.

COMPOST GIVEAWAY SCHEDULE

Friday, July 6

-Corona Greenmarket

Wednesday, July 11

-Manhattan Compost On-the-Go (COTG) locations

Friday, July 13

-Bronx Compost On-the-Go (COTG) locations

-Fordham Plaza Greenmarket

Saturday, July 14

-Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket

-Inwood Greenmarket

-Staten Island Mall Greenmarket

-St. George Greenmarket

Sunday, July 15

-79th Street Greenmarket

-92nd Street Greenmarket

-Carroll Gardens Greenmarket

-Columbia Greenmarket

-Cortelyou Greenmarket

-Parkside Food Scrap Collection

-Tompkins Square Greenmarket

Tuesday, July 17

-Bowling Green Greenmarket

-Bronx Borough Hall Greenmarket

-Ft. Washington Greenmarket

-La Familia Verde Farmer's Market

-Lenox Hill Fresh Food Box

-Poe Park Greenmarket

Wednesday, July 18

-57th Street Greenmarket

-Dag Hammarskjold Greenmarket

-Flushing Greenmarket

-Learn It, Grow It, Eat It Youthmarket

-New Settlement's 170 Farm Stand

-Project HOPE Fresh Food Box

-Tribeca Greenmarket

-Uptown Grand Central Fresh Food Box

Thursday, July 19

-175th Street Greenmarket

-Brooklyn Borough Hall Greenmarket

-BronxWorks Food Scrap Collection

-Columbia Greenmarket

-Tucker Square Greenmarket

-We Stay / Nos Quedamos Food Scrap Collection

Friday, July 20

-97th Street Greenmarket

-Parkchester Greenmarket

Saturday, July 21

-57th Street Greenmarket

-82nd Street Greenmarket

-Halsey Community Garden Fresh Food Box

-Abingdon Square Greenmarket

-Brooklyn Borough Hall Greenmarket

-Fort Greene Greenmarket

-McCarren Park Greenmarket

-Tribeca Greenmarket

-Tucker Square Greenmarket

Fighting Food and Clothing Waste - 15 Million Pounds and Counting!

December 15, 2017

15 Million Lbs 2017

(click photo to view slideshow)

As the curtain closes on 2017, we mark TWO milestones for GrowNYC’s zero waste programs.   We are thrilled to announce; thanks to YOU we have collected more than 10 million pounds of food scraps at our Greenmarkets!

There’s more! YOU have helped keep 5 million pounds of clothing and textiles from going to landfills by dropping them at collection sites hosted by GrowNYC. 

Thanks to your participation that’s 7,500 tons of material repurposed to build soil, create renewable energy, or live a second life as usable clothing, rags, or recycled fiber products!   

What started as 6 Greenmarkets in 2011 has grown to 42 food scrap drop-off locations at GrowNYC’s Greenmarkets, Youthmarkets, and Fresh Food Box sites throughout the City! Not to mention the 18 new Compost On-The-Go locations near mass transit in Northern Manhattan and the Bronx.  Hats off to you and your fellow dedicated New Yorkers who save, store, and transport their scraps each week. 

New Yorkers are equally dedicated to style, and demand for clothing collections continues.  What began as “Material Mondays” at Union Square Greenmarket is now a network of 27 markets accepting clothing each week through our partner, Wearable Collections.  Every shirt, suit, and pair of shoes collected helps chip away at the 193,000 tons of textile waste New Yorkers send to landfill each year – 5 MILLION POUNDS AND COUNTING!

Food scraps and textiles comprise nearly one-quarter of NYC’s residential discards.  Thanks to you, these efforts are one successful component of getting NYC to zero waste.     

Find a clothing collection or food scrap drop-off near you. 

--

GrowNYC’s zero waste programs are funded by the NYC Department of Sanitation.

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