Curbside Composting FAQ

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WHAT IS CURBSIDE COMPOSTING?

Curbside composting is DSNY service for food scraps, food-soiled paper, and yard waste. Just like traditional recycling of paper, cardboard, metal, glass and plastic, residents separate these items and put them in a brown bin.  We collect these materials every week and turn them into compost and clean energy.

 




WHAT FOOD SCRAPS AND YARD WASTE SHOULD BE COMPOSTED?

The following items are accepted in the brown bin:

All Food Scraps—

  • Vegetables and fruit

  • Processed foods

  • Cooked, baked and otherwise prepared foods

  • Cereal, flour, grains, pasta, and rice

  • Spoiled and expired food

  • Eggs and eggshells

  • Dairy products

  • Meat, fish, bones, seafood shells

  • Nuts, seeds, pits, and shells

  • Coffee grounds and tea leaves

Food-Soiled Paper (uncoated)—

  • Paper towels and napkins

  • Paper plates

  • Paper coffee filters and tea bags

  • Paper bags

  • Uncoated food service paper trays and boxes

  • Any other food-soiled paper

Yard Waste—

  • Leaves

  • Grass clippings

  • Garden trimmings

  • Plants and flowers

  • Potting soil

  • Branches

    • Brooklyn and Queens only: no branches wider than your thumb

WHAT ITEMS SHOULD NOT BE COMPOSTED?

Do not put these in the brown bin:

  • Diapers and hygienic products

  • Animal waste

  • Wrappers and packaging

  • Foam products

  • Metal, glass, plastic

  • Clean recyclable paper


WHY Compost Food Scraps and Yard Waste?

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Food scraps, food-soiled paper and yard waste comprise over a third of the trash New Yorkers throw away.  By participating in curbside composting, you help us to:

Keep your neighborhoods clean and healthy by:

  • Placing food waste in bins instead of in bags at the curb.

    • This reduces the chance of bags breaking open, causing spillage or litter.

  • Reducing access to food waste by rodents and pests.

    • The bins have a latching lid that makes it harder for pests to get at the food waste than if it were in a bag at the curb.

Make NYC more self-sufficient and more resilient by:

  • Reducing waste being sent to far away landfills.

  • Creating compost, which nourishes our soil for healthier parks and gardens.

  • Creating clean, renewable energy, which can be used to heat or power homes.

Just like with recycling, curbside composting  creates a resource out of our waste.

 

HOW TO PARTICIPATE

Separate food scraps and yard waste from your trash and other recyclables

IN YOUR HOME

  • Use the kitchen container provided by DSNY or any bag or container for your food scraps, food-soiled paper and house plants.

  • Line your kitchen containers with a bag to help keep clean.

  • Empty food scraps into the brown bin. Keep and reuse your kitchen container.

  • Kitchen containers are for indoor use only and should never be placed at the curb or inside the brown bin

IN YOUR YARD OR GARDEN

  • Use paper lawn and leaf bags or unlined bins for your yard waste, leaves, grass clippings, and garden trimmings. You can order free yard waste decals from us at on.nyc.gov/recycling-materials.

  • Place small amounts of yard waste alongside food scraps in your brown bin if it fits.

  • Bundle twigs and branches with string.

    • Brooklyn and Queens: Because of the Asian long-horned beetle quarantine, DSNY cannot collect large branches. You must notify the Parks Department at on.nyc.gov/yard-waste or call 311 for disposal.

 

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SET OUT FOR COLLECTION

  • Line your brown bin with a clear, plastic liner, a compostable liner, or a brown paper bag.

    • Lining your bin helps to prevent food from freezing to the bin in the winter and keeps odors down in the summer.

  • Find your collection schedule at on.nyc.gov/collectionday

  • Every week, place brown bin, paper lawn and leaf bags and yard waste bins out at the curb for DSNY pickup.

 

TIPS

  • In your kitchen, keep your food scraps container in a convenient place — such as on the counter--top, under the sink, or even in the freezer (if there is room).

  • Just like with your trash and recycling, drop off your food scraps in your building’s brown bin on your way out the door.

  • Regularly clean out your kitchen containers and brown bins. The kitchen container provided by DSNY is dishwasher safe.

  • Knot the liner, keep the brown bin lid shut, and latch the bin after use. This prevents pests and keeps odors in.