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.

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! 

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.

Environmental Ambassadors at NYCHA

February 12, 2016
Posted in Recycling | Tagged recycle, volunteer, NYCHA, recycling



Over the past year, an exciting thing has been happening: recycling is rolling out at NYCHA developments citywide.  As a partner in community engagement, GrowNYC has provided recycling education at workshops and events, aiming to change the way more than 400,000 New Yorkers take out the trash. 

This winter, GrowNYC is launching a new volunteer program for NYCHA residents who want to see this program succeed.  Through our Environmental Ambassadors program, we will train volunteers to educate neighbors about recycling at their developments.  After completing two, 2-hour workshops, Environmental Ambassadors conduct 12 hours of local outreach to encourage participation in the NYCHA Recycles! Program.  Volunteer benefits include field trips, gear, gift bags and a certificate of service signed by the DNSY commissioner and a NYCHA executive. 

Live at NYCHA and want to make a positive change where you live?  Learn more and register today!

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

“¡Recicla, Boricua!” Float Cleans Up Puerto Rican Day Parade

June 17, 2015
Posted in Recycling | Tagged recycling, event recycling

GrowNYC and the Sierra Club of Puerto Rico "floated up" Manhattan's Fifth Avenue at the festive National Puerto Rican Day Parade on Sunday, June 16. The green team volunteers hauled clear bags stuffed with recyclable materials collected from the audience onto the float, giving some 2 million spectators a remarkable snapshot of waste reduction efforts at the event.  Volunteers collected more than 489 pounds of recyclable materials--a 54% increase from last year. 

GrowNYC's free event recycling services included volunteer recruitment, outreach to parade float participants before the event, education on recycling rules and the creation of an event recycling plan to reduce waste at the parade.

 

Clothing Recycling Gets Legs in Chinatown Co-op

January 8, 2015
Posted in Recycling | Tagged recycling, recycle, textiles, clothing

The weekend before Thanksgiving, residents in one Chinatown complex took time to “unstuff”—closets and drawers, that is—bringing 2,500 pounds of unwanted clothing to a special collection in their building. 

In 2012 GrowNYC hosted an Earth Day textile collection as part of a larger community event in Chinatown, attracting residents from the nearby Confucius Plaza Apartments, who asked for more convenient opportunities to recycle unwanted clothing, shoes, linens and other textiles.  With the help of our Manhattan Recycling Outreach Coordinator, the co-op held the first of what is now a bi-annual collection at the 762-unit apartment complex.  GrowNYC advised management on the logistics of setting up a collection, connected them Wearable Collections (who also collects materials from Greenmarkets) and provided outreach and education assistance, from promoting the collection to educating residents about recycling with the help of bilingual volunteers.  In the past two years the building has hosted six events and collected over 6.5 tons of material that will be reused or recycled into new products. Plans are underway to establish more frequent collections as resident demand for this service shows no sign of slowing, and building staff appreciate the lighter loads they must manage when taking out the trash. 

Want to recycle textiles in your apartment building?  Check out refashioNYC to see if you are eligible for a free collection bin, contact Wearable Collections about in-building programs or find a Greenmarket drop-off site near you.   

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.

Green Living Team Unites Residents and Staff to Revive Recycling

May 8, 2014
Posted in Recycling | Tagged recycling, compost, organics, recycle, OROE

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...

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. 

 

 

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