City Resumes Curbside Composting, Expands Other Programs

Mayor Bill de Blasio, DSNY Commissioner Edward Grayson and Director Ben Furnas of the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability pose with a compost collection bin following the return of the Curbside Composting Program. Image Credit: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office.

The new version of the Curbside Composting service will make free composting services available to New Yorkers and the improved Program includes significant expansions. On April 22, 2021, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that New York City will be resuming its Curbside Composting Program, which was originally halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Earth Day announcement also included significant expansions to community composting, reuse, and hazardous waste disposal programs operated by the Department of Sanitation.

The Curbside Composting Program provided households with brown bins to use to deposit food scrap waste that would be collected by Department of Sanitation trucks. The Composting Program was originally halted due to budget cuts from the COVID-19 pandemic. Buildings and residents will be able to opt-in to receive free weekly curbside composting service. Enrollment will launch in August with compost collection services beginning in October.

School Curbside Composting service will also return in the upcoming 2021-2022 school year for nearly 1,000 schools. Special Waste Drop-Off Locations, dedicated to harmful materials that do not belong with household trash,will also be reopened in July.

GrowNYC’s Greenmarket Composting Program and the NYC Compost Project will receive funding and expansions to support community-based drop-offs, composting, and education. Expansions will include all new Smart Bins. Smart Bins will be a public food scrap drop-off source that is operated through the use of an app, which help  prevent cross-contamination and misuse.

The Food Scrap Drop-Off Program will be expanded alongside the other launches. By the fall, there will be over 200 community-based sites as compared to the already existing 100 sites. These sites have collected and diverted nearly 1,300,000 pounds of material. More info on the Food Scrap Drop-Off Program can be found here.

The Department of Sanitation will be offering Reuse Swap Events to ensure usable items are kept out of landfills and are instead brought to better homes for use.

In addition, SAFE Disposal Events will also resume. These events collect solvents, automotive, flammables, electronics products, and other regulated waste. The Events will expand from two events per borough per year to almost with a total of approximately 60 events per year, with one event per community district. This expansion will help keep dangerous chemical and product waste off of streets, out of waterways, and out of landfills.

Mayor de Blasio stated, “Today is Earth Day, but New York City’s commitment to sustainability is year-round. No other municipality ran a compost program like ours, and this new citywide program will advance the cause of environmental justice in all five boroughs.”

Edward Grayson, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Sanitation stated, “When people think about the work of the Department of Sanitation, all too often they think it’s our job just to make trash disappear. But we are a sustainability organization – one of the largest municipal resource recovery operations in the world.”

Ben Furnas, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Climate and Sustainability stated, “Reducing emissions from our waste stream and making important actions like composting more accessible are key to the fight against climate change. Congratulations to the Department of Sanitation on the return of these nation-leading programs.”

By: Patrick McNeill (Patrick is the CityLaw intern and a New York Law School student, Class of 2022.)



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