BY TEQUILA MINSKY
An ecologically-minded public is very grateful.
Funds have been restored to NYC Department of Sanitation (DSNY) to reactivate all of the NYC Compost Project mid-scale compost educational facilities, provide support to some small compost sites, and reopen some local food scrap drop-off sites throughout all five boroughs.
During the City pandemic shutdown, some New Yorkers’ freezers stored food scraps for months. When Union Square and Tompkins Square Greenmarkets recently started to accept kitchen and organic (not meat) scraps for compost, it made room in people’s freezers to recycle more.
Magali Regis, East Village resident and community garden activist uses these sites to drop off her kitchen scraps including peelings, egg shells coffee grounds, rinds, and dead flowers. “We believe organic food waste should not go to landfill. It should instead be used as fertilizer to enrich our soil. What once came from the soil goes back to the soil, such is the cycle of life.” When a community garden has a compost for garden refuse, limitations of size or operation procedures often prevent even members from using the garden’s compost for their kitchen scraps. Regis’ garden just opened its compost for members-only.
As of mid-September in NYC, compost drop-off sites will have been reinstated at six Greenmarkets: Union Square M, W, F, and Sa 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tompkins Square (Sundays), Stuy Town (Sunday mornings), and Inwood (Saturday mornings), 97th St. (Friday mornings), and Lincoln Hospital (Friday mornings).
The Lower East Side Ecology Center is reinstituting strategic drop-off sites in the East and West Village, Lower East Side and on W. 23rd St.
Collecting barrels for food scraps will be at: 1st Ave and 1st St., Mondays 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. (started Sept 21); Clinton and Grand, Mondays 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. (started Sept. 21); East Broadway and Rutgers, Fridays 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. (starting Sept. 25); 23rdSt. and 8th Ave., Wednesdays 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., (starting September 30); Spring St. & 6th Ave. Wednesdays 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. (starting Sept. 30).
The East River Park Compost Yard drop-off continues to be open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Community composting programs will be implemented by DSNY’s eight community partners: in Manhattan— LES Ecology Center, Governors Island—Earth Matter, throughout the City—GrowNYC, as well as Brooklyn Botanic Garden, The New York Botanical Garden, Queens Botanical Garden, Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden, Big Reuse, Earth Matter.
The funds restoration falls short of restoring all composting programs. Discussions are currently taking place between the City and the previously funded community composting partners to determine how this funding can be utilized to provide New Yorkers access to public composting options.
Aaron Schneider, 80, of Thompson Street lives near the 6th Ave. and Spring Street drop-off location where he had religiously been recycling his food scraps for years until the program was discontinued this past spring. Looking forward to the return of the street-side barrels on September 30, just blocks from his apartment, he says, “Now, I am happy. This is convenient and I can do something for the environment.”