Itching to do some good for the environment? The idea of collecting your food scraps and turning them into compost is gaining momentum throughout New York, and the city's sanitation department is making it easier than ever to join the movement–especially if you live in Manhattan or the South Bronx.
There are two ways how: curbside collection and neighborhood drop-off locations.
The first method involves a bit of online paperwork and time, but is easier in the long run: requesting a brown organics collection bin from the Department of Sanitation. (Currently you must live in Manhattan, the South Bronx, or a 10-plus unit apartment building in any other borough to participate.)
Simply go online and fill out the application, which asks for your address, contact information, and building management information (you must get their approval before you proceed). Once you receive your bin, you'll be able to separate food scraps including fruit, vegetables, meat, bones, dairy and prepared food; food-soiled paper; and leaf and yard waste. Collection schedules vary.
If your building doesn't qualify or its management can't be persuaded, there's the second method, requiring you to take your scraps to your closest food scrap drop-off location. Luckily for uptowners there are about 17 spots above 110th Street. Some are temporary and pop up once a week, while others are accessible Mondays through Fridays. Check the map here.
The drop-off points don't accept meat, fish and anything oily, but on the day I passed my local spot on 145th Street and Edgecombe I saw lots of heavy waste like coffee grinds and watermelon rinds. The sanitation department suggests storing the scraps in your freezer or refrigerator between drop-off days to reduce bad odors.
The benefits of all your hard work? Shrinking the amount of city trash that goes into landfills, creating healthier soil that gets used around New York, reducing rodents–the list goes on and on.