June Compost Giveback

June 10, 2021

The GrowNYC Compost Program is typically focused on collecting your food scraps, but from June 12 to June 27, we’re also giving away free compost made from the food scraps we’ve collected in the last year! This is our annual act of reciprocity: we're closing the loop and giving thanks to the thousands of New Yorkers who have saved their food scraps from landfills by bringing them to our Food Scrap Drop-off sites. Small, 2-pound bags of ready-to-use compost will be available on a first-come, first-served basis while supplies last, as outlined below.

Compost Made in NYC

The compost for this Giveback is provided by NYC Compost Project hosted by Earth Matter NY, whose community composting facility and learning center on Governors Island has processed 40% of the food scraps collected by GrowNYC in the last year. If you’ve dropped off food scraps with GrowNYC, then the bag of compost you’ll receive may contain nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium from your very own peels and pits. That’s what we mean when we say “closed loop.”

Compost Giveback Schedule

The following GrowNYC Food Scrap Drop-off sites will host one Compost Giveback event each this June. Please refer to our Compost Program Webpage for site-specific hours and locations. Quantities are limited and based on average weekly participation at each drop-off site, so consider coming early to make sure you get a bag.

Saturday, June 12th

  • Abingdon Greenmarket
  • Tribeca Greenmarket
  • Inwood Greenmarket

Sunday, June 13th

  • 79th Greenmarket

Friday, June 18th

  • 97th St Greenmarket
  • East 96th St & Lexington Ave
  • William B. Washington Memorial Garden

Saturday, June 19th

  • McCarren Park/ Greenmarket
  • Fort Greene Greenmarket

Friday, June 25th

  • Fordham Plaza
  • Lincoln Hospital Greenmarket
  • New Roots Community Farm

Saturday, June 26th

  • Bed-Stuy Fresh Food Box

Sunday, June 27th

  • Carroll Gardens Greenmarket
  • Cortelyou Greenmarket

How to Use Compost

You don’t need to have a backyard or garden to have a use for compost. Indoor plants benefit from an annual application of compost, and we all have access to street trees that can use some love. We recommend mixing your compost into soil at a ratio of at least 3 parts soil to 1 part compost for best results.

  • For outdoor plants: Rake, sprinkle, or mix the compost into the soil of garden or tree beds.
  • For indoor plants: Gently mix an inch of compost into the top layer of potting soil, or blend with potting soil when repotting.

Compost is not shelf-stable, and will not store well. Please use your compost within a week or two of receiving it.

Our Compost Giveback bags are also compostable. Please remove and recycle the tin tie before bringing the empty bag back to a GrowNYC Food Scrap Drop-off site for composting.

What is compost, anyway?

During Compost Giveback events, there’s often some confusion about what we’re giving away and why. Here are a few definitions to know:

  • Food Scraps (noun) – the uneaten foods or parts of food. Calling these items scraps, rather than waste, highlights their value and potential for beneficial use, including human and animal consumption of rescued edible foods, composting, and anaerobic digestion.

  • Composting (verb) - the process of aerobic, biological decomposition that transforms organic materials like food scraps and fallen leaves into compost.

  • Compost (noun) – a soil amendment that resembles dark, crumbly topsoil, has a pleasant earthy smell, and has no resemblance to the original organic materials from which it is made. Compost refers to the finished product of the composting process, and is not to be confused with food scraps, which are just one ingredient in the composting process.

  • Soil (noun) – the upper layer of earth in which plants grow. Healthy soil consists of 45% minerals, 25% water, 25% air, and 5% organic matter. Soil is not to be confused with compost, which is a soil amendment that adds organic matter and beneficial microbes to soil.

When you drop off your food scraps with GrowNYC, we bring them to composting facilities, where they’re mixed with carbon-rich materials like leaves and wood chips, and transformed into compost. The finished compost can be used to improve soil quality for houseplants, gardens, and street trees alike.

Additional Resources


The compost giveback is made possible by funding from the NYC Department of Sanitation and Closed Loop Partners.

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

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

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

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.

Have a More Sustainable Holiday

December 8, 2015

You've made a gift list and planned the menu, now here's your holiday recycling checklist:

  • 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
     
  • Block Styrofoam and foam peanut packaging are not recyclable, but alternative paper packaging can be included in your recycling pile.  Styrofoam peanuts can be reused, and cornstarch peanuts can be composted. 
     
  • For those so inclined, even corks can be recycled--find drop-sites here 

Visit our Holiday Tips page for post-holiday tree collections, electronics recycling events and community swap events. 

For more tips on keeping your holidays green and merry, visit the NYC ZeroWaste page.

Five Million Hi-Fives to Greenmarket Composters!

August 3, 2015
Posted in Recycling | Tagged recycle, compost, greenmarket

Spring, winter, summer or fall, New Yorkers are increasingly dedicated to building a collective compost pile, facilitated by Greenmarkets and community composters throughout the city.  In partnership with the NYC Department of Sanitation, GrowNYC has diverted more than 5 million pounds of residential food scraps from disposal.  Material dropped off at Greenmarkets is distributed to a network of local compost sites, such as Earth Matter on Governor’s Island, where chickens get the first “peck” of the scraps, and Red Hook Farm, where unwanted scraps are transformed to nurture a new crop of Brooklyn-grown vegetables.   Whether your haul is large or small, we thank YOU for your contributions to this effort!  Learn more about food scrap collections at Greenmarket.    

           

Green Your Halloween!

September 30, 2014

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

June 5, 2014

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.

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