COMPOST RESOURCES                                          DSNY Food Scrap Pick-Up

  External DSNY Links

 (Universal Compost pick up will begin on the UWS on October 7, 2024)

     (In the meantime, no new buildings  can sign up for the current program)                                 

What can you put in a composting bin?

How To’s for Superintendents



Welcome to Composting!

You have joined a community of people who are helping our city, while reducing your smelly garbage at home – a real win-win situation!  Food scraps that are diverted from landfill, where they would produce methane gas, are turned into valuable resources – compost (for soil) and fertilizer (for plants) – and used locally for urban farming and gardening.

Latest News:  Composting will be Mandatory in NYC!

Read here to learn about how mandatory compposting is coming to New York City. (Not an NY Times subscriber?  Try the following google search to access the article. “nyt mandatory composting hillary howard”)

Here are some Kitchen “How-Tos” and some tips to help get you started.

Gathering food scraps

  • A large yogurt (or similar size, light weight) container with a lid, works as well as a commercially available compost pail. (Or try Tupperware or an ice bucket.)
  • Keep your container near your sink, or area where you chop or prepare food.
  • Lining the container is optional.
  • Placing a bit of newspaper at the bottom of the pail helps to absorb moisture.
Storing food scraps
  • To reduce # of trips to the communal brown bin, you can store food scraps in fridge or freezer, depending on where you have space.
  • Plastic bags (ok), compostable bags (better) or paper bags (best) can be used for storage. All can be dumped in the brown bin, but only paper is turned into compost. (Plastic and compostable plastic bags are currently removed and sent to landfill.)
What goes in the brown bin
  • Food scraps including grains, nut and egg shells and pits. Meat, bones and dairy products are all accepted here, but not at greenmarket bins.
  • Food soiled/oil stained paper, cardboard, paper towels, paper plates. (Not paper cups or anything coated or lined to repel liquids, and not clean paper products that can be recycled.)
  • Parchment paper but not waxed paper.
  • Plant and yard cuttings, dried flowers and potting soil.
  • Cork, but only if it is real cork and untreated.
  • Wood scraps (e.g. popsicle or chopsticks) if wood is untreated.
  • Coffee filters and tea bags, except the mesh type, which is made of plastic.
Using the communal organics (brown) bin
  • Familiarize yourself with the lock – it’s only a little challenging – and it does work even with the plastic liner bag (if there is one), despite your first impression!
  • Once it’s full, start a new bin. Don’t overfill!  
    For more information, visit and
    Why your building should join the NYC Organics Collection Program
     Benefits for Buildings
    You’ve heard how it’s good for the planet, but here’s what’s actually in it for you…

     Improved Trash Management
    • When organics are separated from other trash, trash volume is reduced by 34% on average, and it no longer smells.
    • This reduces the amount of trash hauled by the building staff. Residents who participate are responsible for transferring their organic waste to the organics bin in the trash area/basement.  Building staff is responsible only for rolling the bins to the street (and back) on collection days and replacing the liners after collection.
    Better Protection From Vermin
    • Organics bins are more vermin proof than regular trash bins, because they lock shut, keeping odors and pests at bay. Only creatures with opposable thumbs can open them.
    • Organics bins are more vermin proof than plastic bags on the street, where your trash awaits pick-up.
    No Downside, Only Upside Once You Join
    • Participation is free. The Dept of Sanitation provides the organics collection bin.
    • Participation by residents is completely optional. No one is required to ‘compost’, and there is no penalty for low building participation. So why not enable those who want to participate?
    • Participation rates tend to grow over time because participants like it and spread the word. (It improves trash management at home, too!)
    • Participation signals a sustainability minded building to potential buyers.
    • Food scraps are turned into compost, which is used at Street Tree Care and Giveback events or sold to businesses that turn it into fertilizer. Composting saves NYC the cost of sending it to landfill.
    If you are ready to get started, your building manager, superintendent, or board  chairperson can sign up at
    or by calling 311.  Give it a try! 
    Good News for Residents


     What you always wanted to know about food scrap composting but didn’t know you should ask
    “ I love it! The hallways are cleaner. We started with one bin and now are up to four” J.D. Super, West End Avenue
    “It was easy to get the hang of it-easier than I thought, because it makes so much sense.” Resident, 102nd and Riverside.
    My trash has gone way down in volume and it rarely smells!” Resident, 102nd and Riverside
    “Why wouldn’t I love it? The halls are cleaner and less smelly and rodents can’t get at it.” V.P. Super, West 104th Street.
    You may have noticed that jaunty brown food scrap bins are popping back up in our neighborhood. Here are some FAQ’s to help you understand what this effort is all about.
    Why does separating food scraps from other garbage matter?
    When food scraps go into regular garbage bins they end up in landfills where, because they are shut off from oxygen they produce methane, a greenhouse gas 30x worse than CO2.
    What can I put in a brown bin?
    Basically any formerly living thing including fruit, vegetables, meat, fish and chicken including bones and garden debris.
    The paper bag or plastic bag you save up your scraps in can also be tossed in the bin. (Now the Department of Sanitation can separate out the plastic bag.)
    Please note: if you have been bringing your food scraps to local farmers markets or plan to, they do not accept meat, fish and chicken scraps.
    What  can I use to collect my food scraps?
    Countertop bins are available locally and online as well. Compost scraps can also be kept in a paper or plastic  bag in the freezer until pick up day.
    What is the schedule for pick up of the bins?
    In our neighborhood it is Wednesday. Bins go out in late afternoon for evening pickup.
    What costs are involved in participating? Who can I call at DSNY?
    NONE!   This is a free program offered by NYC Dept of Sanitation. Call or write Allie Gumas, Outreach Coordinator at DSNY if you have any questions a  212 437-4802.
    When all Manhattan buildings are automatically enrolled in the composting program in October, 2024, building owners will have to supply their own bins. The bins can hold up to 55 gallons and should have a tight lid. They do not need to latch.  A decal placed from the Department of Sanitation website should be placed on the lids indicating it is a bin for compost.

    New!  Smart Composting Bins  If your building is already signed up to receive curbside pickup, keep adding your food scraps to the brown bins. If your building is not participating, take advantage of the Smart Compost Bins now available in our neighborhood.  You can access Smart Composting Bins 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, using a free, simple app.
    Download the app here.
    Find Smart bins in our Bloomingdale neighborhood at:
    SW Corner W 96th & West End Ave        NE Corner W 97th and Broadway
    SE Corner Broadway and W 102             SE Corner Broadway & W 109
    Find Smart Compost bins in other areas of NYC here.
    Note: Universal curbside pickup will start on the UWS October of 2024.
    Feedback or questions welcome at

    Bringing Neighbors On Board

    • Share your enthusiasm for composting  (not smelly, easy to manage, deters  rodents)
    • Offer to share your tips for kitchen management
      • With a few other on-board neighbors, hold an information session in your building’s lobby
      • Offer to become the contact person for compost info in your building