Compost: Outreach & Education

Compost 101

What is Compost?

The food scraps you throw into your bin is NOT compost. Food scraps become compost or are composted when combined with a mix of carbon, moisture and air.  With the right ratio, organic material is placed in piles, rows, or vessels to decompose. The result is rich compost or humus, a soil amendment used to improve soil health.

  • Compost (Noun): the finished product of decomposed organic materials.
  • Compost (Verb): the process of decomposing organic matter.

Why Compost?

Each year, NYC generates 14 million tons of waste, which ends up in incinerators or landfills. As our landfills begin to fill to their maximum capacity we need to be more proactive in diverting waste to create more sustainable solutionse. When food and organic material end up in landfills, it decays and produces methane emissions. Methane is a greenhouse gas more harmful than carbon dioxide. NYC has the opportunity to make a huge impact on climate change simply by how we dispose of our waste. 34% of NYC residential waste is organic materials: food waste, food-soiled paper, and yard waste. Organics make up NYC resident’s largest waste stream. This means individuals have the power to make long lasting impactful change. Simply by dropping off your food scrap at a neighborhood food scrap drop off site or composting at home New Yorkers hold the power to combat climate change. Composting our organics is an alternative method used for dealing with waste that results in a natural product (compost) rather than another landfill.

Why Community Composting?

Community composting sites vary in size, mission, staff and financing. Oftentimes community composting sites are established at community gardens, farms, schools, transfer stations, businesses, institutions and other locations. These sites can be managed by volunteers, community groups, social enterprises or local governments. Although sites may vary, the value of community sites are universal: engages community empowerment, creates social inclusion, produces greener neighborhoods, improves local soil quality, reduces CO2 emissions from hauling waste, diverts organics from landfills, saving money, and teaches valuable job training skills that reinforce sustainability to the next generation.