Composting Feels Oh So Good! Especially For Greenpoint and North Brooklyn

How many of you Greenpointers have your own compost bin? Or bring your food scraps to the Greenmarket on Saturday in McCarren Park? Doesn’t it feel so good? Do you get giddy when you see all the food waste that doesn’t get thrown into plastic bags and sent to a landfill? Now the rest of this city is finally getting on board and this will directly benefit Greenpoint and North Brooklyn.

The city announced yesterday a volunteer composting program that may become mandatory. At first 150,000 households, 100 high rises and 600 schools will participate from all five boroughs, then the entire city will be on board in a few years.

What do you think about a mandated composting program in NYC?

As Greenpointers, this program will directly improve public health in our neighborhood because a large percent of the garbage that the rest of our fellow New Yorkers throw out ends up in Greenpoint before it gets trucked off to landfills. The more everyone composts, the less trash we have to deal with here, and the less garbage truck fumes we will inhale. 

The NY Times article about the new composting program began by reminding NYers this is the same mayor who banned soft drinks. (NY Times also said you can compost chicken bones, which is a bad idea.) And while some are threatened by Bloomberg’s concern about personal health, the composting initiative isn’t just about our health and how we dispose of our God given trash, but rather the health of the entire city and the environment. That should make us all feel happy inside, like we just drank a 72oz slurpie!

One million tons of food waste, which could be composted and used to create soil for gardens, urban farms and parks, is trashed every year by New Yorkers. And “when food is disposed in a landfill it rots and becomes a significant source of methane - a potent greenhouse gas with 21 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide,” according to the EPA.

This is a no-brainer! Want better air quality? Compost!

But what about the smell? NY Times wonders whether NYers will comply, “given that some may cringe at keeping a container of potentially malodorous waste in a typically cramped urban kitchen, even if it is supposed to be emptied regularly.” If it’s not in a compost bin, it’s in the trash and food smells because we throw it in the trash.  We won’t have that problem if we compost it.

Food waste dumped in standard trash cans… can generate bad odors and attract rodents or insects. Placing food scraps in a closed, leak-proof, durable, and reusable container, and having it frequently emptied for donation or composting can significantly reduce, and even eliminate these problems.

And everyone knows that the best place to store compost is in the freezer!

Aside from improving environmental and ultimately public health, composting can save the city and us taxpayers a ton of money because a composting facility will be constructed and the compost will be turned into biogas, which will help lower our electric bill.

While we aren’t the first to adopt citywide composting, we can see the benefit in cities like San Franisco, which started the program 16 years ago and is able to “divert close to 80 percent of total waste generated each year from landfills.” It’s about time New York City becomes greener and more sustainable through a composting program!

Less garbage in our own backyard, better air quality, good soil and energy savings are great for Greenpoint and North Brooklyn. So before the city MAKES us do it, if you aren’t composting, might as well get started now. It’s so easy and makes you feel oh so good!

Here is some great info from North Brooklyn Compost Project on, How To Compost. If you cannot compost in your own backyard, then you can drop off your food scraps every Saturday from 8am-2pm at the Greenpoint / McCarren Park Greenmarket.

Also - Drop your scraps on the way to work at Greenpoint Ave G Mondays 8:30am-10:30am in front of The Garden! via @BIG!Compost

Here is additional information on NYC Wasteless Compost Project.

On a personal note, before we had a backyard, Jon and I composted at the market on Saturdays. When we got our own yard, Jon got really excited about making a compost bin. I was not so enthusiastic because I was scared of the smell and the creatures like rats and raccoons we might attract by having a big tub of rotting food in the back of our apartment. Well I was wrong, it doesn’t smell at all and we have not had any creepy crawly visitors. The bin is raised off the ground so rats cannot get in and there is a latch that even the clever claws of raccoons can’t figure out. Plus, the type of food that is compostable doesn’t attract rodents. Jon also drilled tiny holes into the bin for aeration, and the bin spins, so the food breaks down evenly and naturally rather than rotting and stinking. While we have a few problems in our new home, stinky food and unwanted pesky visitors are not among them.

About Jen G

After living in NYC my entire life, I found the strongest sense of community in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Running this blog is truly an honor and the best part is meeting its readers in real life. Everyday I am energized by smiles and inspiring conversations with fellow Greenpointers who tirelessly do and create incredible things that are good for our community and share the same love I have for life here. If you see me walking with my little dog "D" - please say hi!

3 Comments

  1. Jon says:

    A point of clarity. This citywide composting WILL allow the composting of “everything that grows” including meat, bones, cheese, etc. This does NOT work in home composting but is possible with more intensive municipal scale composting. I think this is a huge step forward for the city as it could reduce the amount of waste we pay to bury, by 30% according to current estimates.

    Reply
  2. Lisa says:

    This is so exciting! I am doing research for food info for our new Brunch in Brooklyn bike tour and am going to include composting as something important in the area to reduce waste and improve environmental conditions. Thanks for all your work on this!

    Reply
  3. kate z says:

    Jon is correct. (Its almost as if he had some sort of horticultural training followed by involvement in a local community-based composting initiative…) You can compost anything that will biodegrade, and even add in a few shells and bones for mineral content. In the house, backyard or McCarren Park you want to limit fat and protein in the pile because it breaks down slowly and can smell when you inevitably have to turn it. At a large scale site or farm, you throw it all in.

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