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
- 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.
- How to Use Compost Tip Sheet from NYC Compost Project
- See the New York City Street Tree Map for tips on how to care for urban trees.
- For information about getting compost in larger quantities, visit nyc.gov/getcompost.
The compost giveback is made possible by funding from the NYC Department of Sanitation and Closed Loop Partners.