Compost: Outreach & Education

Compost 101

What is Compost?

 Compost is result of the human-managed decomposition of organic matter. It is used as soil amendment that improves soil health and biology. The process of managing that decomposition is called composting. There are 5 Factors that make compost happen: 

  • Browns (carbon-rich material like wood chips or dried leaves)
  • Greens (nitrogen-rich material like food scraps or fresh yard waste)
  • Water
  • Oxygen
  • Time

The right balance of these five factors results in nutrient-rich compost.

Why Compost?

Each year, NYC generates 14 million tons of waste, which ends up in incinerators or landfills across the country. When food and organic material end up in landfills, it decays and produces methane. Methane is a greenhouse gas more harmful than carbon dioxide. NYC can make a huge impact on climate change simply by changing how we dispose of our waste. 34% of NYC residential waste is organic materials: food waste, food-soiled paper, and yard waste. In other words, one third of the city’s waste is compostable. Instead of throwing organic waste out with the trash, you can drop off your food scraps at a neighborhood food scrap drop off site or composting at home. This simple change can give individual New Yorkers the power to combat climate change. 

Why Community Composting?

Community composting sites vary in size, mission, staff and financing. They can be community gardens, farms, schools, transfer stations, businesses, institutions and other locations. These sites might be managed by volunteers, community groups, social enterprises or local governments.

Although sites may vary, the value of community sites are universal:

  • Promotes community empowerment
  • Creates social inclusion
  • Produces greener neighborhoods and improves local soil quality
  • Diverts organics from landfills
  • Teaches valuable job training skills that reinforce sustainability to the next generation.