For city residents, recycling organics is a small change that makes a big impact!

NYC collects over 3 million tons of trash and recycling each year. Combined with commercial, construction, and demolition waste, NYC generates a total of 14 million tons of waste annually1 – that’s over 1,000 Empire State Buildings each year.2

But NYC’s residential recycling rate is only 15% even though nearly 75% of our waste is recyclable.3

The City is working to fix this problem through PlaNYC 2030, which aims to divert 75% of recyclable materials from landfills by 2030.4

In 2013 NYC began piloting curbside compost collection in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Staten Island, with plans to expand.

Now, city collection programs operate regularly throughout Manhattan, and in the outer boroughs the curbside pickup program is underway.

NYC Residential Waste Collection Breakdown5
When there are 8 million people there is a lot of excess.
But with that many people, there is also an opportunity to make simple changes that impact the greater health of our city – like separating our organics from the garbage.
3 Steps for the Apartment Composter:
Separate your food scraps.

Take food scraps, or rotten foods and other acceptable items (see list below) and put them aside.

Place your scraps into a container.

You can use anything, a paper bag, Tupperware, old yogurt containers, takeout containers, a plastic bag for transport, but please keep in mind plastic is not compostable. When buying  compostable bags, look for the “ASTM D6400 specification”, and be sure to check ahead that your compost site accepts them.

Work it into your routine!

Most city residents will compost by collecting the food scraps at home and dropping them off at a location nearest them. Find one near you!

New York City Pilot Programs

NYC is piloting curbside collection of compostable material, beginning with 3,200 households in Staten Island, and has now expanded to about 100,000 households across all 5 boroughs.

Learn more about the program.

Sign up your building for compost collection!

The following map shows the specific pilot zones in each borough.

If you think you should be included in the pilot, but have not received a brown bin, call 311.

East Village Residents in New York

You may live or work in the zone for compost collection by bike from Reclaimed Organics.


If you don’t live in a pilot zone

You can still compost by dropping your food scraps locally.


Brooklyn and Manhattan

There are a couple local nonprofits and small businesses that can collect your compost, BK Rot (Bushwick), Sure We Can (East Williamsburg), and Vokashi (Brooklyn and Manhattan).


If you’re in need of compostable bags, you can find a local retailer near you (including Whole Foods) that supplies them, or order them on Amazon! Look for the “ASTM D6400 specification” when buying compostable bags.

Want to get your hands dirty?
Find community events and volunteer opportunities near you!
Click for our shared calendar