The return of composting to downtown

Of all the things we have to deal with these days, it may seem dumb to make an issue of composting. But I really miss it in our building — we opted in a couple years ago after a neighbor signed us up for the pilot program. And I would argue that if the whole city composted, we would have a more efficient garbage pickup system to begin with. Once composting started, I was taking a garbage bag to the basement about once every five days, vs. nearly every other day when we had five people living here full time.

And since we all now know for sure that plastics recycling is a lie, it seems that organics is the way to go, even if it is expensive.

The city suspended all brown-bin pickups in May, when the budget cuts at Sanitation kicked in. And composting was also suspended at the Greenmarkets, which was run in cooperation with Sanitation, so at last, the latest option downtown: Hudson River Park Trust is offering composting at 10 sites in the park, including Pier 25 at N. Moore. Hours are 7a to 7p every day.

It’s not as comprehensive as the former building pickups, where you could include meat and bones. But still, it’s something. See the image below for what’s allowed. This is your literal garden variety compost pickup.

Hudson River Park will process the food waste at its composting center uptown, and the byproduct will be used throughout the park. (GrowNYC has also started a limited but citywide program with Sanitation funds, but the closest site to us is Sixth and Spring.)

Also, a neighbor of mine has signed up for a compost pickup service run by Fountain House, the non-profit in Clinton (they are a great organization — I knew them well when I was on CB4). It’s a weekly pickup subscription service for $8 and a one-time bucket fee of $20. Pickups will start on Oct. 19. The Tribeca route will be 10a to noon on Fridays. (They have an early-bird special going now, if you sign up by this weekend.)

The program is called Fountain House + Garden, and while the organization’s primary mission is to provide rehab and work opportunities for people with mental illness, they have also taken on the project of mitigating food waste in the city. Their residents and clients will run the program.



  1. This is great news, Pam. Much more convenient than weekly biking my stack of big plastic containers to Union Square. Thanks for making my day!

  2. I’m so happy to hear this! Thank you, Pam.


  4. The last few months, I have been taking my “clean” compostables to the East River Park Compost Yard, over by Corlears Hook Park. It is sponsored by the Lower East Side Ecology Center, and their drop boxes are open 24/7 if you feel the urge for a nice bike ride off hours- there is a Citibike station at the park entrance on Cherry Street. But still great that we will also have a neighborhood option again.

  5. yessssssss!! my countertop container is back in circulation