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NYC - recycle more, waste less New York City Recycles NYC Department of Sanitation
Organics Collection Pilot for Residences

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A section of Staten Island is receiving a new organics collection service in the first phase of a voluntary pilot program. The NYC Department of Sanitation (DSNY) collects yard waste, food scraps, and food-soiled paper every week from pilot area homes. Residents who participate in the program are helping NYC create valuable compost and send less waste to land­fills!

Service in the pilot area began on Saturday, May 4, 2013, with the first collection of organics.

Collecting organic material helps NYC reduce trash disposal costs, achieve its recycling goals, and limit greenhouse gas emissions. DSNY turns these organic wastes into compost, a natural soil amendment. Finished compost is made available to city agencies and non-pro­fit organizations for use in gardening, soil restoration and erosion mitigation, and habitat improvements.


how to participate in the program
pilot areas
what goes in the brown bin?
compostable liners and paper lawn & leaf bags
tips!
how does DSNY promote the pilot?
frequently asked questions
 

 

ALSO SEE:
other local organics recovery programs
neighborhood-based food waste drop-off sites
community-based compost sites
nyc composting laws
composting helpful links
more composting pilot projects & studies


How to Participate in the Program

A starter kit was delivered to participating households. The kit included a brown organics bin and a small kitchen container with a starter supply of DSNY-approved compostable liners. The starter supply of liners should last 2-3 months, depending on use.

Participating households can follow these steps:

1. Collect organic waste separately from trash.

  • Gather household food scraps, soiled paper, and plant material.
  • Place in the brown bin.
  • Collect leaf and yard waste in paper lawn & leaf bags or unlined rigid containers.
  • Paper lawn & leaf bags are available online or at participating retailers (supermarkets and home improvement stores).

2. Place organics at the curb on recycling day.

  • Every Saturday, residents in the pilot area should place brown bins and any leaf and yard waste at the curb by 6:00 a.m.

3. Dept. of Sanitation collects the organic waste and delivers it to a local compost facility.

  • Each brown bin contains a radio frequency identi­fication tag that DSNY will be able to scan to evaluate participation rates and help DSNY understand the success and popularity of the program in the community.

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 What Goes in the Brown Bin?

YES!

all food • vegetables & fruit • baked goods • coffee grounds & filters • tea bags & loose tea • cereal • flour & grains • pasta & rice • nuts • eggs & eggshells • dairy products • meat • fish • bones

Small amounts OK in brown bin

Put remainder in paper lawn & leaf bags (or unlined rigid containers)

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

NO!

NO designated recyclables 

No metal, glass, plastics, or cartons

NO liquids

NO trash

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

NO plastic

No plastic of any kind: bags, wrappers, fruit & vegetable stickers, containers, or packaging—even if it is labeled as biodegradable. DSNY-approved compostable liners are OK during the pilot phase.

No foam items

No clothing/textiles

No electronics or batteries

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Tips!

Manage Food Scraps

  • Use the kitchen container to collect food scraps and empty regularly into the brown bin. The kitchen container is dishwasher-safe.
  • It's not necessary to line the kitchen container or brown bin, but if participants want to, they can use newspaper or paper bags. During the pilot phase, participating households can also use DSNY-approved, certified compostable liners. These can be composted with food scraps. The starter kit includes a sample supply of certified compostable liners for the kitchen container.
  • Don’t put any plastic bags that are not DSNY-approved, certified compostable in the brown bin. If using a regular plastic bag to collect kitchen scraps, empty the food into the brown bin, then throw away the bag.

Maintain Your Bin

  • Add layers of newspaper, leaves, or cardboard along with food scraps in the brown bin to absorb moisture and cut down on odors.
  • Rinse out brown bin and kitchen container regularly.
  • Sprinkle baking soda in the container and bin to reduce odors.
  • Store brown bin in a shaded, ventilated area and keep lid latched.

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DSNY Promotion

DSNY's efforts to inform residents about the Organics Collection Program and the Staten Island pilot include some or all of the following:Organics Collection brochure

  • mailers and door hangers delivered to participating households
  • posters hung in local businesses
  • meetings with elected officials
  • presentations at community meetings
  • info tables at local venues and events

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is my home included in the pilot program?
What day will Sanitation collect my organics?
Where do I place the brown bin?
There is a problem with the bin I received. 
I did not receive a brown bin but I live in the pilot area.
What can I put in the brown bin?
What happens to the organic waste after Sanitation collects it?
Why did Sanitation choose this area to implement the pilot? 
Will the food waste attract rodents or bugs?
I set out my brown bin but it wasn't collected. 
When will curbside organics collection come to other parts of the city?
Will Sanitation offer compost to residents through a compost giveback event?
Does Sanitation keep track of what I put on the curb?

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Is my home included in the pilot program?

Check the pilot area map to see if the street you set out your bins on is included in the pilot program.

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What day will DSNY collect my organics?

DSNY will collect organics from participating households on their recycling day. The recycling day in the Staten Island pilot area is Saturday.

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Where do I place the brown bin?

Place the brown organics bin on the curb, along with your recycling and garbage bins. Place lawn & leaf bags next to the organics bin.

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There is a problem with the bin I received.

Please call 311.

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I did not receive a bin but my garbage set-out street is included in the pilot area.

Please call 311 if your home is in the pilot area but did not receive a bin.

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What can I put in the brown bin?

See the Yes/No section for what can be thrown in the brown organics bin. As a general rule, "if it grows, it goes" in the brown bin.

Watch out for produce bags, which are often tinted green but are not certified compostable, and fruit & vegetable stickers. Do not place these in the brown bin.

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What happens to the organic waste after Sanitation collects it?

The organic waste collected from residents on Staten Island through this pilot program is transported to the Staten Island Compost Facility, where it is composted in windrows.

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Why did DSNY choose this area to implement the pilot?

Proximity to the compost facility and density of single-family homes in the area were the two main factors in defining the pilot area.

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Will the food waste attract rodents or bugs?

The brown bins provided by DSNY have special latches that prevent infestation by rodents, racoons, and bugs. To reduce odors, it is important to keep your bins clean. See our tips for maintaining your bin.

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I set my brown organics bin on a participating street on my recycling day but it was not collected.

Please call 311.

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When will curbside organics collection come to other parts of the city?

The selection of neighborhoods to include in the pilot program is based on a number of factors. DSNY is tracking resident interest in bringing the pilot to their neighborhood. To suggest your neighborhood, please call 311.

During the pilot program, DSNY will assess the program’s cost effectiveness and its success in reducing the amount of waste going to landfills to determine if this extra service will continue.

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Will DSNY offer compost to residents through a compost giveback event?

DSNY has offered several compost giveback events in previous years but currently does not have plans to host another giveback event. DSNY will explore the feasibility of resuming these events based  on results of the pilot.

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Does DSNY keep track of what I put on the curb?

DSNY will evaluate participation rates in the pilot area by tracking the number of bins that are set out for collection.

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