Save Our Compost requests the following funding for NYC Compost, totaling $14 Million for
the 2022 fiscal year, a fraction of the original costs for organics collection and processing in the
City. We ask to see a timeline for reinstating a robust universal curbside organics collection
program in the very near term.
Community Composting and Food Scrap Drop-off Program - $7 million
The City should continue to fund and expand Community Composting and Food Scrap Drop-off
Programs - NYC Compost Project including GrowNYC, LESEC, Earth Matter, Big Reuse, QBG,
NYBG, Snug Harbor and BBG. The current program is funded at $3.5 million for FY21 and has
opened 100 drop off points throughout the city - a mix of sites hosted and composted by
volunteer run community groups and some staffed, hauled and composted by nonprofit
organizations in NYC Compost Project and GrowNYC funded by the City. This funding is not
adequate to provide hauling to more distant composting sites.
Equitable Food Scrap Drop Offs - The additional funding would ensure all community boards
throughout the city have adequate food scrap drop-off opportunities - with at least one drop off
point in each community board, and increased funding for outreach staff to work at food scrap
drop-off sites citywide
Hauling - The additional funds are needed to keep pace with hauling needs for the rapidly
growing volume of compost collected by these sites to appropriate composting sites. Improve
access to local hauling and processing options to existing drop offs that bear 100% of the cost
to process and haul material to commercial sites.
Compost education - The additional funding through the DSNY NYC Compost Project would
fund education and outreach from the Botanical Gardens and other non profit partners to
provide Master Composter training for residents to compost in their backyards and special
training for community gardens to maximize their composting capacity.
Green Jobs - provide green jobs programs for composting, compost distribution, and collection.
Compost Distribution - volunteer activation to use compost produced to help green the city.
Create New Community Composting Sites - $4 million
In order to compost the growing volume of compost generated in the Food Scrap Drop-off
program, the City should fund the construction of community composting sites throughout the
city on Parks or other city land to provide equitable composting resources throughout the city.
Even with limited drop-off sites compared to pre-COVID times, the current processing sites are
facing capacity issues. Currently, there are community composting sites on Governors Island
(Earth Matter NY), Western Queens (Big Reuse), in Western Brooklyn (Big Reuse), and Lower
Manhattan (LES Ecology Center). The City should partner with nonprofit partners to build
community composting sites throughout the city with 6 new sites in South Bronx, North Bronx,
South Brooklyn, Eastern Queens, upper Manhattan, and Rikers Island as legislated within the
recently passed Renewable Rikers Act, including open and enclosed sites.
Composting locally also saves funds on exporting recyclable materials out of the City in the short and long term.
As the Lower East Side Ecology Center is being pushed out during ESCR, the City should fund
the through the construction of LESEC site under the Williamsburg Bridge. The Big Reuse
under the Queensboro bridge site threatened with eviction should be allowed to stay, given
overwhelming public support and beneficial environmental /educational services, which would
keep the infrastructure and cost nothing.
Zero Waste Schools and NYCHA organics pilot projects - $1 million
It is important to re-open composting programs in schools to reduce our waste export costs and
ensure that the next generation is on board with composting, as there is a major educational
benefit to composting and food scrap diversion from a young age.
Multifamily Building Collection and Processing Pilot - $2 million
A large multifamily building could require 50 of DSNY’s brown bins to store all of its organic
waste, requiring more labor and space than trash bags. Funding is necessary to pilot equipment
to reduce the volume of organic waste by up to 90% so it requires less space to store, less labor
to manage and less cost to collect. Equipment should be piloted in several large apartment
buildings per borough, and evaluated to determine the best set up for high participation rates
and high value output (compost / organic fertilizer). Food scrap drop-off containers on the street
should also be piloted on blocks which have buildings with no space or labor for bins - for
example streets with commercial storefronts and 2-5 stories of residential above. These pilots
are essential to ensure all buildings can be set up for successful organic waste diversion, and
ensure that future citywide collection is equitable and affordable.
Feasibility Study - Citywide Curbside Compost Collection Program - $750,000
Funding for DSNY to study the reinstatement of citywide curbside compost collection. The
study should estimate costs and savings from various ramp-up scenarios for a citywide
mandatory curbside compost collection program. The feasibility study also examine the
integration of ongoing community composting programs and new methods of collection from
multifamily building pilot. The study should take place by the end of FY 2021 and include an
implementation plan to support with an efficient and quick roll out.
Municipal agency composting - $1 million
Collection and in-building infrastructure and education support for municipal agencies and
buildings, to lay groundwork for statewide mandatory public agency composting (currently in
Reinstate & Expand Curbside Compost Collection
The City should provide universal compost waste collection to all residences citywide, including
NYCHA, as soon as possible. The City should reinstate Curbside Compost Collection as soon
as possible. The new Curbside Compost Collection should be mandatory and funded by a
program that charges for trash disposal but provides free recycling and composting to NYC
residents, implemented through mandating partnership with building managers. While we are
not pushing for full funding for this line item from the City in the 2022 fiscal year necessarily due
to the City’s stated budget constraints, if federal funding comes into the city for environmental
goals, we do expect to see the implementation of a robust curbside collection program that
incentivizes low waste in the next 1-2 years. Since one primary cost would be pickup, we
suggest that DSNY alter their collection schedule to swap out one trash pickup day so that
organics, which are one third of the waste stream, are collected instead on that day.
BRENDAN SEXTON, TOK MICHELLE OYEWOLE and ERIC GOLDSTEIN “Compost More, New York