Before you tote your bags of food scraps over to the McCarren Greenmarket on Saturday morning: don’t. May 18 marked the final day of community composting in North Brooklyn (at least for now).

Many will recall that the neighborhood used to have several drop-off sites at local parks: WNYC Transmitter on Sundays, McGolrick on Sundays, and McCarren on Saturdays. The former two sites, run by the local North Brooklyn Compost Project, closed in December 2023 after city-wide funding cuts by the Adams administration. At that time, GrowNYC received an anonymous donation to fund some sites across the city through roughly mid-2024. We’ve now reached the end of that money, and with no new commitment to funding from the city government, McCarren is one of 47 sites across the city now closing entirely. 

GrowNYC’s food scrap drop-off site at McCarren Park Greenmarket in 2020. Image credit: Miryam Shemwell

The future of composting in North Brooklyn—and in the city at large, for that matter—remains murky. Community advocates are hopeful that there’s room for negotiation with the Adams administration in the upcoming 2025 city budget discussions.

“This never should have happened—but it’s the direct result of the Adams administration cutting funding to the Community Compost Program,” said Council Member Lincoln Restler in a recent statement. “I am laser focused on making sure that these community composting drop off sites reopen as soon as possible. I expect the City Council to provide funding for them in the FY25 budget, which begins July 1.”

While reintroduction of community composting funding for 2025 would be a win, it still means Greenpointers are left with fewer options for the rest of 2024.

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Curbside composting—where DSNY picks up compost directly at homes, much like garbage collection—is technically implemented across North Brooklyn, but there are practical barriers to success. On neighborhood forums, Greenpointers complain of landlords resistant to curbside because of additional effort and the possibility of decaying food scraps attracting vermin. Until curbside rolls out to all boroughs—a plan which was recently delayed from late 2024 to late 2025—we are currently in a “warning period,” meaning landlords can legally get away with not engaging in curbside. [Editor’s note: There is also a compost option at Domino Park, but the hours are a little irregular]

Local organizations like NBK Compost Project, a part of the larger North Brooklyn Mutual Aid organization, are intent on keeping smaller composting efforts alive in the neighborhood.

“It’s so frustrating that the Mayor continues to not prioritize community composting,” Katie Zwick, a coordinator for NBK Compost Project, said. “Aside from signal boosting calls to action from the Save Our Compost Coalition, Big Reuse, and other organizations calling for restoration of funding for community composting, the North Brooklyn Compost Project has been trying to focus our efforts on smaller scale initiatives locally. We’re collaborating with the PS 110 Greening Committee to help them steward their composting system and care for the beautiful schoolyard garden on Monitor Street.”

Greenpointers who are losing sleep over the end of community composting can consider volunteering with these initiatives (opportunities are typically sent via the newsletter) and continuing to put pressure on neighborhood and city-level elected officials. All eyes remain on the upcoming budget meetings in July.

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  1. Short-sighted ultra liberal radical Democrats have caused this by keeping New York City a sanctuary city. You don’t get to have your cake and eat it too when you got to take care of 100,000 illegal immigrants. Vote Republican #trump

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