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NYC - recycle more, waste less New York City Recycles NYC Department of Sanitation
What Goes In the Organics Bin


For buildings receiving DSNY collection of organic waste through the NYC Organics Collection program:

acceptable materials
unacceptable materials

organics collection in houses
what to compost at home
what to compost at drop-off sites

Acceptable Materials

All Food

vegetables & fruit • prepared foods • baked goods • cereal • flour & grains • pasta & rice • nuts • eggs & eggshells • dairy products • meat • fish • bones


Food-Soiled Paper

paper towels • napkins • paper plates • coffee filters & tea bags • paper lunch sacks • paper food boats and trays

Leaf & Yard Waste

Small amounts of leaf and yard waste are OK to put in the brown bin. Put extra yard waste in paper lawn & leaf bags, any rigid container, bundles, or clear plastic recycling bags (least preferred option since plastic is not compostable).

lawn & leaf waste • leaves • garden trimmings • grass clippings • yard waste

Brooklyn & Queens residents must follow the Asian Longhorned Beetle quarantine rules for wood debris. See the Parks Department page on wood debris leaving NYCWasteLess.

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Unacceptable Materials

Please do not place the following materials in your organics bin.

NO plastic: plastic shopping bags, plastic wrap or food wrappers, plastic utensils, fruit & veg stickers, containers, or packaging. The only exceptions are usage of certified-compostable plastic bags to collect food scraps, and clear plastic recycling bags to line the outdoor brown bin only. See more about the usage of bags, liners, and compostable plastics during the pilot.

NO designated recyclables: no metal, glass, plastics, or cartons; no clean cardboard or paper. Find out what to recycle with Sanitation.

NO trash: no animal waste (kitty litter, poop, carcasses), cigarette butts or ashes, hygiene or medical items (band-aids, feminine products, diapers)

NO clothing/textiles: Apartment buildings can sign up for re-fashioNYC, the city's free clothing reuse program.

NO electronics or batteries: Apartment buildings can sign up for e-cycleNYC, the city's free electronics recycling program.

NO liquids. Small amounts of grease, fat, or oils ok. If you collect grease in a jar, seal the jar and place it in the trash. 

NO foam items. Read more about foam plastics and their place in NYC's waste stream.

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