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NYC Organics Collection Liners and Bags


Bag or liner usage is not required for this program; in fact we encourage you to dispose of organic material directly into your organics collection bin. However, bags and liners can help keep your collection container clean and increase participation.

Depending on whether you are a public school, large or small residence, agency, non-profit, or religious institution, your bag requirements may differ.

bag requirements for residents, private schools, and institutions
bag requirements for city agencies and DOE public schools

bin requirements
where to purchase compostable bags
organics collection and drop-off programs

Bag Requirements for Residents, Private Schools, and Institutions

There are several options for those who choose to line their indoor or outdoor bins:

  • Reduce waste by not using a liner or bag. The bin is specifically made to hold organic waste.
  • Use a certified-compostable bag or a paper grocery bag.
  • Use a clear plastic recycling bag.

BPI-USCC logoDSNY-approved compostable liners must bear the certified Biodegradable Products Institute - United States Composting Council (BPI-USCC) COMPOSTABLE logo:

Find out where to purchase compostable bags that meet these requirements.

Plastic shopping bags and "biodegradable" plastics do not belong in the bin. Grocery stores and supermarkets often provide green-tinted plastic bags in the produce aisle, which are not usually compostable (and are sometimes labeled biodegradable). If you use a regular plastic shopping bag to collect food scraps, empty the contents into the brown bin, and then throw away the bag.

Regular plastics do not break down and are difficult to remove during processing, thereby affecting the quality and potential uses of the end products (compost and renewable energy). Clear plastic liners are not preferred by processors, but they are tolerated as a means to receive more material.

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Bag Requirements for City Agencies and NYC Public Schools

Due to the time it takes to adjust the City's procurement process, NYC agencies and Department of Education (DOE) public schools are currently permitted to use regular clear plastic bags to line their organics bins until they are able to make the switch to compostable alternatives. City agencies should order bags through their normal procurement mechanisms. Public schools can obtain bags through their Kitchen Manager.

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