How To Use New York City’s Smart Composting Bins


Four hundred smart composting bins have been distributed around New York City. A strong piece in the fight against waste and filth, with help from city council member Julie Menin, three are on Roosevelt Island. But how do we use them?

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

Installed in three Roosevelt Island locations, the new bins make daily composting easy and available. It’s no surprise that all of New York City struggles with waste. It contributes to quality of life declines and feeds rats in every borough.

But now, you can make a difference. Roosevelt Island bins are at the Tram Plaza and outside 40 River Road and The Octagon. Find the nearest one using the NYC Compost App. (See links below)

Smart Composting Bin at the Tram Plaza.

According to the Department of Sanitation

What to compost:

  • Smart Composting Bins: ALL food scraps, plant waste, and food-soiled paper. This includes meat, bones, dairy, prepared foods, and greasy uncoated paper plates and pizza boxes.
  • Community composting drop-off sites: Most food scraps, including fruits and vegetables, eggshells, coffee grounds and tea bags, nuts, bread, rice, and pasta. Plant waste, including leaf and yard waste and houseplants. No meat, bones, or dairy.

Of special benefit for Roosevelt Islanders, the smart bins accept materials that in-building recycling containers can’t.

What Becomes of the Composted Materials?

New York City, the concrete jungle that it is, does not have the most obvious space for composting.

However, the city has managed to collect over one million pounds of compost in a single year. But what happens to all this organic waste?

The city has implemented a composting program that sends the materials, after processing in Staten Island, to different locations. Some of the compost goes to community gardens, where it is used to enrich the soil and grow fresh produce.

Other batches of compost are sent to upstate New York, where they help to reclaim land that has been damaged by mining. The rest is turned into composting bags and sold to the general public.

For a city that is constantly on the move, this is a fantastic way to reduce waste and create something useful.

How To Use Smart Composting Bins

The first part is simple – but so are all the other parts.

Access Smart Composting Bins 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, using a free, simple app.

Once you have the app on your phone, it gives you a list of available locations, starting with the nearest. A bit of caution, though: DOS uses Google Maps, but they designate according to distance alone. In other words, they may tell you that the nearest bin is on First Avenue, across the river, as if it’s as simple as walking up Main Street.

After bringing your waste to the bin you want, you open and close it with the app. Frequent collections and controlled access mean a clean and neat process we can all appreciate.

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