Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver has the opportunity to help save composting in New York and support communities in a climate crisis by renewing our lease under the Queensboro Bridge. Since 2011, we have operated one of the most efficient compost sites in the city on what was previously unused Parks land. The lease ends December 31, 2020 and if it's not renewed, this vital resource could become a parking lot. Composting is an important step in fighting climate change and supporting community composting is an easy action that Parks can take.
This site (like the East River Park site operated by the Lower East Side Ecology Center), provides resources and space for community-led climate change solutions. Over the last 9 years, the Compost Project hosted by Big Reuse has composted over 7 million lbs of organic waste under the Queensboro Bridge including over 1.3 million lbs of Parks leaves and woodchips. It also provides community members with the opportunity to learn about composting and connect around local climate justice initiatives. We have engaged over 3500 volunteers through the space and distributed over 536 cubic yards of compost to Parks and community groups.
If the lease at our Queensbridge site is not renewed, the composting infrastructure of New York City will continue to struggle at minimal capacity. Due to COVID-related fiscal cuts, DSNY eliminated its nascent curbside compost collection in March 2020. After a massive outpouring of public support from over twenty thousand New York residents, City Council funded the continuation of the Compost Project, a decades-old network of nonprofits operating community compost and food scrap drop-off sites. Protecting sites like the one beneath the Queensboro Bridge is absolutely crucial for preserving composting throughout the city.
Renewal of our license should be a win win for Parks! Our community composting site:
- composts 300,000 lbs of Parks leaves and wood chips and 1 million lbs of residential food scraps instead of landfilling
- demonstrates Parks active pursuit of sustainability goals for not only Parks but the whole city during a worsening climate crisis
- provides free high quality compost to Parks, GreenThumb, and street tree care which improve soil in NYC that is highly degraded
- provides resources to volunteers and community groups that are helping Parks green NYC during a period of reduced budgets
- brings 1000 volunteers annually to the compost site
- hosts dozens of educational tours for schools and environmental groups
- is an essential component of NYC City Council’s recently-funded Compost Project effort to provide composting for city residents after elimination of curbside composting
- supports local environmental justice initiatives by turning waste into a community resource in NYC instead of a burden in another community hosting our landfill
To stay up to date on actions you can take to protect this site, check out this action page.
In the News
"NYC’s Ambitious Composting Initiative Has Decomposed," by Audrey Carleon, Gothamist
"NYC Parks Department Still Doesn't Get It On Composting," by Eric Goldstein, Natural Resources Defense Center, 12/30/2020
"LIC Composting Site Fights Looming Eviction by Parks Department," by Maya Kaufman, Patch, 12/15/2020
"Food Waste Site Shutdowns in New York Risk Higher Methane Levels," by Stephen Lee, Bloomberg Law, 11/27/20
"After Brutal Budget Cuts, Compost Sites Face Eviction by Parks Department," by Danielle Muoio, Politico, 8/23/20
"City Kicks Key Queens Compost Site to the Curb," by Rachel Vick, Queens Daily Eagle, 11/20/20
"Parks Department Closes Environmental Facility to Create Parking Lot," by Gersh Kuntzman, Streetsblog NYC, 11/19/20