The ’nation’s largest’ compost program is coming to Queens this fall


Queens residents will see a major change to their weekly garbage pick-up schedule this fall when NYC introduces a borough-wide curbside composting program, which officials are saying will be the largest of its kind in the nation.

Starting October 3, the Department of Sanitation and its trucks will collect leaf and yard waste, food scraps, and food-soiled paper products on a weekly basis from all residential buildings in Queens.

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The program will run continuously for three months until late December when there will be a pause for winter. According to DSNY, there is not much yard waste during these months and yard waste makes up the lion’s share of compostable waste. Service will return in late March 2023.

Unlike past composting programs, like the composting pilot that hit Astoria in the last year, Queens residents won’t need to sign up, they will just need to set out their waste in a labeled and secured bin or bag on the assigned day. The schedule will be available on DSNY’s composting website by mid-September.

Ahead of the program’s launch, DSNY will also deliver bins to all Queens residential addresses of 10 or more units. 

Residents can also use an old DSNY-issued brown bin or a lidded, labeled bin of their own. You can order a compost bin online before October 1 at nyc.gov/curbsidecomposting or a DSNY decal at nyc.gov/CompostingBinDecal.

“Starting this fall, we’re bringing guaranteed, weekly curbside composting to the entire borough of Queens—taking action to keep our streets clean and simultaneously fight climate change,” said Mayo Eric Adams said in a statement. “This launch makes New York City home to the largest curbside composting program in the country and will help Queens residents easily get rid of yard waste, food scraps, and food-soiled paper products in an environmentally conscious way. There’s no sign-up required, and all that Queens residents need to do is put out their waste in a separate bag or bin. This is how we ‘Get Stuff Done’ for our city.”

Mayor Eric Adams Compost NYC
Photograph: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office

As you know, NYC is the second dirtiest city in the world, according to our readers and officials have recently tackled ways to cut down on garbage in the streets and rats on the sidewalks, including installing giant, new trash bins, spending $11 million on new street sweeper vehicles designed to fit in narrow spaces like bike lanes, reinstated its Alternate Side Parking and initiated a “Rat Action Plan.”

According to the Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi, the city has provided funding to put organics collection in every public school, added 250 smart composting bins to NYC streets, launched a citywide containerization pilot, and increased litter basket collection across the boroughs as a larger citywide cleanup process.

Apparently, the city has also developed new “extreme routing efficiencies” for the composting program, which will allow it to collect at the lowest cost-per district of any curbside composting program to date.

Of all the boroughs, Queens was selected because of the diversity of communities and housing stock, the mayor’s office says.

“The borough also includes large leaf and yard waste districts in the east, dense multifamily homes in the west, and a variety of historically underserved neighborhoods that have suffered the consequences of environmental injustice,” it said in its press release.

For those of you who don’t know, garbage that decomposes in a landfill creates methane, which is a dangerous greenhouse gas. By composting, about one-third of the city’s residential waste can be removed from the landfill and actually help gardens grow or create renewable energy.

Luckily, Queens won’t be the only borough to see some composting action—about 250 “smart” composting bins will be placed across the city, specifically in Manhattan above 125th Street, the South Bronx, the North Shore of Staten Island, and Central Brooklyn.



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