NYC Brown Bin


Following up on my previous article on composting a couple of months ago, I’ve recently made some new discoveries on the NYC composting scene (bet you didn’t even know there was a scene!).

Did you know that the city has its own compost project and that since September 2013 it has been pilot testing an organic waste collection service in selected areas throughout the city?

The pilot project involves issuing bins, known as brown bins, dedicated to the collection of organic waste which is collected on rotation like your regular waste and recycling bins. Maybe you’ve seen these brown bins around.

Just as the city provides specific bins for recyclable material and general waste, the brown bin is a dedicated repository for your organic waste such as garden trimmings, food scraps, coffee grounds, even pizza boxes and used napkins which can all be used to form compost. These brown bins are an important step in reducing waste that goes into landfill. So much of landfill is organic waste which can be repurposed as compost, to yield all kinds of environmental benefits.  Pilot projects are currently underway in parts of Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island.

To find out if a pilot project is happening in your area and you’re missing out, click here.

For those of you who are not in the pilot project areas and do not want to wait until the brown bin initiative is rolled out citywide (if and when it does), there are neighborhood compost drop off points all over the city. You can bring your compostable items (think green and brown items from my previous article) to these collection points and do your part to beautify community gardens throughout the city, reduce waste, and reduce landfill.

To find your nearest neighborhood compost collection site, click here.

In addition to the compost project, the city also has a mulch distribution project that works in conjunction with the compost pilot project. The compost collected from the pilot project, and the mulch produced from yard waste and fallen trees is then redistributed to parks, community gardens and street trees throughout the city. It is also available to non-profits and city agencies to ask for distribution to their green spaces.

The next round of applications for the distribution of mulch and compost will be open in late fall, so watch this space for application forms.

In the meantime, work, eat and live green!