Curbside composting resumes in Queens following winter pause, citywide rollout to follow

Curbside composting
Scrappy the DSNY curbside composting mascot was at Archie Spigner Park in St. Albans Sunday where Queens Borough President Donovan Richards announced the program’s return. (Courtesy of DSNY)

The city’s Curbside Composting program resumed across Queens on March 27, following a winter hiatus after the initiative launched as a three-month-long pilot in the borough last fall.

During that period, the Department of Sanitation (DSNY) diverted 12.7 million pounds of food scraps, leaves, and yard waste from landfills. Eight of Queens‘ 14 community districts outperformed Park Slope, Brooklyn. Jamaica and St. Albans, in particular, diverting more material from landfills than the pre-existing legacy composting program.

The model used in Queens last fall, with universal collection on designated recycling days, set the standard for the program that will expand citywide beginning in Brooklyn on Oct. 2.

“Don’t be crappy, be Scrappy,” Queens Borough President Donovan Richards said alongside the plastic recycling bin of a mascot during the official announcement at Archie Spigner Park in St. Albans.

curbside composting
(Courtesy of DSNY)

“When Queens puts its mind to something, we put all our weight behind it — the proof is in the nearly 13 million pounds of waste we diverted in just three months,” Queens Borough President Donovan Richards said. “I couldn’t be prouder of how the borough stepped up, specifically Southeast Queens, and shattered composting records last fall.”

Queens residents will be able to pick up 40-pound bags of New York City compost for use in their yards and gardens.

DSNY Commissioner Jessica Tisch said after the Brooklyn launch in October, the program will begin in Staten Island and the Bronx next March with the service launching in Manhattan in October 2024.

“I’ve always thought that New Yorkers wanted to do the right thing when it comes to composting – that they wanted to get the rat food out of the black bags and out of landfills – and last fall, Queens residents proved that to be true,” Tisch said. “Over the next 19 months, this same simple, universal model will come to every corner of the five boroughs, and it starts right here in Queens this week.”

Once the initiative is rolled out citywide, it will be the nation’s largest curbside composting program.

“Initiatives like this are critical to our fight against climate change and Queens will stop at nothing to ensure the borough we leave for our kids is not just habitable, but healthy,” Richards said. “That’s exactly what we’re doing with this curbside composting program, and I can’t wait to see this program expand citywide in the year ahead.”

Richards and Tisch distributed composting bins for food scraps and they can be put out for pickup on recycling days. For more information, visit the DSNY website here.