What is Composting

Composting is nature’s way of recycling. This biological process is driven by decomposer organisms that breakdown organic material until only the beneficial soil amendment remains. Composting is an important sustainable waste management technique that diverts food waste from the landfill, where the food would decay anaerobically (in the absence of oxygen), creating the greenhouse gas methane. The average New York City household throws out over two pounds of food waste per day, amounting to over 3,000 tons of organic matter that must be trucked off to distant landfills.


Composting disrupts this harmful system by returning vital nutrients back into the earth, creating healthy soil. As an end use in school gardens, street trees, and urban farms, composting has helped “close the loop” for food waste recycling in New York City.


The Ecology Center collects food waste at multiple locations in Manhattan and processes them locally. All you have to do is keep your food trimmings (no meat or dairy, please) separate from the rest of your trash and recycling and bring it to one of our drop-off sites.


In addition to these drop off sites, the NYC Compost Project hosted at the Lower East Side Ecology Center offers compost education programs, which teaches New Yorkers how to compost at home or in community gardens. Through these programs we keep hundreds of tons of organic material out of the waste stream and introduce countless New Yorkers to the benefits of composting.Please join us at one of our compost workshops to learn how you can reduce your ecological footprint and recycle your leaves, garden trimmings, and food waste into compost. Upcoming workshops can be found on our calendar or you can call our compost helpline at (212) 477-3155.