Curbside composting returns to Community District 5 in Queens

Composting bin on the street.
Curbside composting will be offered to residents in Queens starting Oct. 3. (Photo courtesy of DSNY)

Curbside composting is open for sign-ups in Glendale, Middle Village, Ridgewood and Maspeth after Mayor Bill de Blasio brought the program back preceding budgetary shortfalls due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY) will provide brown bins to collect food scraps, food-soiled paper and yard waste. DSNY will then process the materials into composts and renewable energy every week. 

Food scraps, food-soiled paper and yard waste are processed for composting. (Photo courtesy of DSNY)

During the pandemic, the city devoted resources primarily to health and safety needs, forcing tough budget cuts in the spring of 2020 to DSNY. However, curbside composting and leaf collection is coming back ahead of schedule. 

Compostable waste makes up one-third of all trash New Yorkers throw away, according to DSNY Outreach Associate Sid Berraha.

“When these things end up in a landfill they release greenhouse gases, which contributes to rising sea levels and rising global temperatures,” Berraha said. “By separating yard waste, food scraps and food-soiled paper, you’re helping NYC become more resilient and self-sufficient.”

Photo courtesy of DSNY

The new rollout of the program will be available to those who sign up to receive free weekly curbside composting pickup service. The service started this month in Brooklyn, but will expand as more districts sign up. 

If there are not enough participants in a given district, residents will be put on a waitlist until they reach the minimum number. District 5 has more than 1,000 addresses that have expressed interest in the program. Until curbside composting begins in District 5, DSNY encourages residents to bring food scraps to a drop-off location or compost at home. There is a site at the Glendale Community Garden.

DSNY Commissioner Edward Grayson said people should think of his department as more than trash cleanup. 

“We are a sustainability organization — one of the largest municipal resource recovery operations in the world,” Grayson said. “I want to thank de Blasio for his commitment to this mission, and I’m excited to see brown bins back on the streets.”

DSNY is looking to add more food scrap drop-off sites in community districts not yet eligible for curbside composting. This would allow people to take their own bins to sites for composting. 

Residents can either call 311 or visit nyc.gov/curbside composting to receive service.