How to get your building composting

Tips for enrolling buildings in the NYC curbside pick-up program

Following are tips for how to request one of the Department of Sanitation’s brown bins for curbside organics collection if you live in a large apartment building (10+ units). Building management approval is required so you might need to do some convincing. 

  • First, fill out this application. You will enter the email address of your building's owner / management company as well as a bunch of other information.

  • After you do that, the management company will receive an email saying a resident has nominated the building to be part of the city's curbside composting program. It will be anonymous so they won't know it's you that is the rabble rouser.

  • Every time a resident nominates your building the management company will receive a new email, so you should encourage other residents to do it. Strength in numbers.

  • Reaching out to the management company directly in parallel is a good idea. If they complain that it's too much work, tell them one day they might be required by law to compost, just like they're required to recycle. If they start the process now, they will get "white glove assistance" from the Department of Sanitation to figure out how to make it work for the building. If they complain that it will attract pests, tell them that the composting program REDUCES vermin because the brown compost bins are impenetrable unlike black trash bags.

  • Going via the building's super often ends in sadness because they can be biased toward inaction.

  • If you need a pitch for why this is so important, here you go:

    In New York City, more than 1 million tons of food is thrown out by businesses and residents every year. Food that is thrown into a landfill doesn't compost. Instead it decomposes and produces methane gas, which is even more harmful to our environment than carbon dioxide. All of this food waste accounts for 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions, which is helping to fuel our climate crisis.