NYC Residential Organics Collection is Growing!

October 16, 2013
Posted in Recycling | Tagged recycling, organics, compost

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. 

 

 

A Day in the Life: Recycling Champions Coordinator Julia Goldstein

October 11, 2013

GrowNYC's School Recycling Champions program works with schools in all five boroughs to help them achieve and exceed the NYC recycling standards. They work to inform and empower the key participants in a school by providing hands-on education through materials, workshops, assemblies, and on-site demonstrations.

Recycling Champions has five outreach coordinators, each of whom works in a particular borough. Below, Manhattan Outreach Coordinator Julia Goldstein takes us through a typical day in her life as a Recycling Champion.

What I love about being a Recycling Champions coordinator is how much creativity and dedication the principals, teachers, custodians, kitchen staff, recycling coordinators, parents, and above all the students, all over the city bring to making their school environment more sustainable.

Let me give you some examples from a typical day:

The first stop of the day is my office, where I pick up materials for workshops I’m doing on the new Organics Food Scraps Collection program at Chelsea Prep (281 9th Avenue in Chelsea). I make sure to grab a coffee from Laughing Man on the way to the C train.

In the 2013-2014 school year, over 300 schools in Staten Island, Manhattan, and Brooklyn are participating in the Organics Collection Program, a joint initiative between the NYC Departments of Education and Sanitation. The goal is to collect the organic material from school cafeterias and kitchens to reduce the waste NYC sends to landfills. Organic Food Scraps Collection includes: meat, fish, dairy, vegetables, fruit, grains, baked goods and all soiled food service paper products.

I chat with the school’s Fireman, Ed Pierre, who has been working hard to get the new Organics signs up in the cafeteria

On Saturday I’ll go to another workshop at Chelsea Prep that includes parents, and we’ll use this, a trivia game created by RCP’s Thaddeus Copeland. The Trivia Game is one of several tools we use to engage the students in participatory learning. A student spins the wheel and depending on which icon they land on, they are asked a recycling-related trivia question

I hop back on the C to 110th Street to my second stop: Wadleigh Secondary School for the Visual & Performing Arts (215 W 114th Street in Morningside Heights).

I touch base with Al Spechar, the Custodial Engineer, who shows me a new system he is trying for separating the curbside recycling – he has painted green lines around where the paper recycling goes, and hung a mixed paper and cardboard recycling decal. Great idea! It makes it easier for the Sanitation workers if it’s always in the same place, and it makes it easy to check to make sure each type of recycling has been put out.

I jump back on the C train to 86th Street and go on to my next stop: Louis D. Brandeis High School (145 W 84 Street in the Upper West Side).  I check in with Helena Fisher, the SchoolFood Manager , to see how the Food Scraps Toter bins are working for them. We talk about how frequently they need new bags – the students are catching on to the Food Scraps Organics program faster than we had hoped!

I board the cross town bus and grab a seat and work on email. I spend so much time on public transportation it feels like my second office.

My next stop: Robert F. Wagner Middle School (220 E 76th Street in the Upper East Side). I meet with the 6th grade cafeteria recycling monitors, who make the fantastic recycling station work every day. They bring both knowledge and tact to the job of reminding their peers of the recycling rules.

I take the 4/5 back downtown to Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall for my final stop of the day: Murry Bergtraum High School (411 Pearl Street in the Financial District). The sustainability coordinator, Bob Menning, walks with me through the school. Bob takes his role seriously and his energetic and talented Green Team students, like Elena Tsoy, bring creative flair to the task -- they’ve hung signs throughout the cafeteria and school reminding classmates and faculty/staff of best recycling practices.

That’s my last visit and all that’s left is to convince my fellow rush-hour passengers on the 4/5 train to make room for me and my Santa-sized bag. To their credit, being New Yorkers, they hardly give it a second glance.

GrowNYC Supports City Efforts to "RECYCLE EVERYTHING"

July 30, 2013
Posted in Recycling

GrowNYC is proud to support Mayor Bloomberg’s leadership in expanding recycling in NYC with the launch of "Recycle Everything."

In 2006, the City created GrowNYC’s Office of Recycling Outreach and Education to assist their ambitious goals to divert more waste from disposal. Whether promoting textile, e-waste, and increased plastics recycling or working with the Department of Sanitation to establish organics recycling programs like those happening at Morningside Gardens (where this week’s press conference took place), GrowNYC is thrilled to be a component of the City’s efforts. The "Recycle Everything" ad campaign launched and the expansion of the City’s organic food waste recycling program shows how far New York has come in managing the 11,000 tons of waste generated every day. Together, these initiatives will help double our recycling rate by 2017 and reduce the amount of trash sent to landfills.

GrowNYC was proud to help establish the Morningside Heights organics collection and will promote the City’s Recycle Everything campaign in its education outreach across the five boroughs.

New York News

Food Scrap Collection Passes the ONE MILLION POUND Mark

January 8, 2013
Posted in Greenmarket | Tagged compost

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?

Donate Wisely to Prevent Waste When Helping Storm Victims

November 13, 2012
Posted in Recycling
Photo by Vitaliy Piltser

 

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, New Yorkers have shown an abundance of compassion toward one another. One unintended result of this generous spirit has been an oversupply of material donations, particularly clothing. Piles of unneeded clothing have created a waste disposal problem in many communities affected by the storm, compounding the challenge of removing the damaged contents of homes. This excess of donations creates a new burden of storing, disposing or transporting items that cannot be used by storm victims, such as summer clothing. An estimated 60% of donations received are unusable and, while well-intentioned, this outpouring of material support has helped to create landfills out of parking lots in these communities.   Before donating supplies, please check which items are specifically needed at relief locations. Rather than donating used items to relief sites, consider bringing them to a charitable resale store, where they can help to raise funds for disaster recovery. For more information on waste-free donations, visit NYC WasteLess. Excess clothing collected for storm victims can instead be dropped for reuse or recycling with GrowNYC’s textile recycling partner, Wearable Collections, at several Greenmarket locations. Wearable Collections has announced that despite losing their fleet of collection trucks from flooding in Red Hook, they will double their monetary return contribution for clothing donations to the charity of your choice. For other items that are still usable, find new homes at one of our upcoming Stop ‘N’ Swaps, a free community reuse and exchange event. One of the best ways to help is to donate money to GrowNYC, the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City or other reputable Sandy-Relief charities.  Cash donations ensure that the right supplies are purchased for those in need and also removes logistical problems such as storage and waste disposal. Blood is also in high demand; find a donation site via The Red Cross. GrowNYC is on the ground providing staff and resources to help the victims of Sandy through collecting and distributing Greenmarket food to community kitchens and other outlets in impacted neighborhoods, helping to redistribute unwanted clothing donations, rebuilding devastated school and community, volunteering at shelters and supply distribution facilities and more. We will continue to work our utmost to provide New Yorkers with programs to reduce their environmental footprint and support our local economy. Please consider donating to GrowNYC or signing up to volunteer.

Compost/Textile Recycling Updates

November 6, 2012
Posted in Greenmarket

Does your local Greenmarket feature food scrap collection or textile recycling--or both? Find out below, and see what sites are closed for the season or suspended due to the holidays.

BOROUGH GREENMARKET ACCEPTING TEXTILES? ACCEPTING FOOD SCRAPS?
Brooklyn Bay Ridge Greenmarket 3rd Ave & 95th St NO Collection completed for 2012 season
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 Collection completed for 2012 season
Brooklyn Windsor Terrace - PS 154 Greenmarket PS 154, 11th Ave b/t Sherman & Windsor Pl NO Collection completed for 2012 season
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 YES - Saturdays and Mondays, 8am-4pm suspended Mon 12/24 & 12/31 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 Collection completed for 2012 season
Queens Sunnyside Greenmarket Skillman Ave b/t 42 & 43 St NO YES - Saturdays, 9am-12pm thru Dec 22, 2012
Staten Island St. George Greenmarket St. Marks & Hyatt St Collection completed for 2012 season Collection completed for 2012 season
Staten Island Staten Island Mall Greenmarket Richmond Ave entrance (Parking Lot) Collection completed for 2012 season Collection completed for 2012 season

Textile Recycling at Confucius Plaza a Success

August 28, 2012
Posted in Recycling | Tagged textiles

On Sunday, August 12th the GrowNYC crew had their second textile recycling event at Confucius Plaza in as many months. OROE volunteers Nga Yan and Shi Chao came out to lend a hand in diverting over 2,250 lbs from the landfills, bringing the total to over 3 tons of materials in just two days! We’d like to give a special thanks and congratulations to the management and residents of Confucius Plaza for their partnership and enthusiasm. Here's to another successful foray in community supported recycling! GrowNYC currently offers weekly textile collection at 19 Greenmarkets. If you are interested in hosting a one-time textile collection in your community, please contact us at (212) 788-7964.

Birdie visits Union Square to Promote Reusable Bags

August 6, 2012

Greenmarket and GreeNYC will be promoting reusable bags with GreeNYC mascot Birdie at the Union Square Greenmarket at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, August 8. Stop by to meet Birdie and make a pledge to reduce the use of plastic. Birdie will reward individuals who pledge to make a difference with a reusable tote bag, perfect for stocking up on local produce. More: New Yorkers consume more than 5 billion plastic bags each year. Plastic bags litter our neighborhoods, depletes global natural resources and contribute to carbon emissions and climate change. Littered plastic bags can easily make their way to storm drains and then into our waterways. GreeNYC is the public education arm of PlaNYC, Mayor Bloomberg’s plan for a greener, greater NYC. GreeNYC works to educate, engage, and mobilize New Yorkers to rise to the challenges of reducing their energy use, living a more sustainable lifestyle, and shrinking the citywide carbon footprint--actions that are critical to achieving the overall PlaNYC goal of reducing NYC’s greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2030 and improving the quality of the city’s environment. View the event flyer.

Attention NYC public schools: Apply for GrowNYC’s Recycling Champions Program for the 2012-2013 school year

May 29, 2012

Is Your School a Recycling Champion?

Update! We've extended the deadline to June 22nd at 5pm. GrowNYC is now accepting applications for the 2012-2013 Recycling Champions Program from NYC public schools! Recycling Champions is a free program available to K-12 schools in all five boroughs that helps to launch model, school-wide recycling programs. It's conducted in partnership with the NYC Department of Education Division of School Facilities and Office of Sustainability, and the NYC Department of Sanitation.Recycling Champions aims to empower schools to comply with, and exceed, NYC's recycling laws, and in the process students create school wide projects and campaigns, and learn environmental leadership skills that place their schools on the forefront of NYC's Mayoral directive to double the City's diversion rate by 2017. Your school can receive a dedicated coordinator to help organize school recycling and events, galvanize staff, and educate students through hands-on lessons and activities. The application deadline is June 22! Download the application as a PDF file or as a Word DOC. See you at School!

Food Scrap & Textile Recycling at More Greenmarkets!

April 18, 2012
Posted in Greenmarket | Tagged compost, textile recycling


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. Find nearby clothing drop-offs at grownyc.org/clothing, and check grownyc.org/compost for food scrap collection sites.  Please note many markets offer both services, however collection hours may 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.

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