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Save Big Reuse's Queensbridge Community Compost Site!

Save Queensbridge Composting Site

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Since 2011, Big Reuse’s Queensbridge composting site has composted over three million pounds of Parks Department leaves and wood chips and provided over 3,000 cubic yards of high-quality compost back to NYC Parks. Last year alone, 700 cubic yards of high quality, screened compost was provided to 154 different parks, schools, community gardens, and greening projects. The Big Reuse site provided compost and mulch that was applied to over 1,200 street trees with 1,000 volunteers

Parks’ decision to not renew the license agreement with Big Reuse will effectively end Big Reuse’s decade old critical community composting program. 

1. Big Reuse strongly supports the long overdue improvements to Baby Queensbridge Park, and our work contributes to these improvements. Big Reuse has worked to improve Baby Queensbridge Park for over a decade. The site currently occupied by GreenThumb is land Big Reuse cleaned up and made operational in 2011 to host our first composting site. In 2015, Big Reuse revitalized our current location, which was a garbage strewn lot.

2013-2015 The site before Big Reuse management and improvements

2. Big Reuse’s compost site does not impede improvements to Baby Queensbridge Park (shown below). Our composting site is not in the footprint of the improvements. The Parks storage and vehicle parking currently in the Baby Queensbridge Park improvement footprint actively utilize less than 5,000 sq ft of space for sector maintenance. There is a 22,000 sq ft Parks parking lot under Queensboro Bridge that is mainly used for staff parking that could be used for sector maintenance. This parking lot has been underutilized for many years - shown in below photos and watch a video tour of the space here.

3. All local elected officials and community boards strongly support Big Reuse’s composting site license renewal - now and in 2021.  Queens Borough President Richards and Councilmembers Won, Krishnan, Caban, and Abreu submitted letters stating their support and asking Parks to renew the license agreement for Big Reuse’s composting site. Additionally, Queens Community Board 1 and 2 have requested our site remain. Parks should not ignore input from democratically elected local officials and community boards. In 2021, we had the same community wide support when Parks first proposed eviction. 

4. Two Parks Community Input Meetings strongly supported the Big Reuse Community Composting site remaining. Please review Community Input meetings from 1/28/21, 2/1/22 and CB1 5/17/22. All of the meetings had strong support for renewing the Big Reuse license. Additionally, multiple Astoria rezoning meetings called on the Big Reuse compost site to remain. 

5. Composting belongs in Parks. NYC Bar Association along with NY Lawyers of Public Interest, NRDC, and NYC Environmental Justice Alliance called on Parks to support composting and our composting site. 

6. Due to budget cuts and DOB issues with the site in Greenpoint, Big Reuse can not move and this eviction will end our composting programs. There are no other sites - Parks’ eviction of the Big Reuse community composting site will force closure of an innovative nationally recognized program. At Big Reuse Gowanus site, DEP is being forced by EPA to install CSO tanks - a very different case than Parks’ stated rationale for Queensbridge eviction. 

7. With increasing impacts from climate change - the city should increase resiliency infrastructure and reduce climate change emissions - community composting does both. Community composting is the most economical, ecological, engaging, and equitable way to process Parks yard waste. Composting locally reduces waste impact on other communities, improves surrounding green infrastructure, reduces diesel transportation emissions, and provides climate resiliency resources to community organizations. 

8. During tight budgets - Big Reuse provides sustainable waste management and compost to Parks at no cost to Parks. We continue to provide compost in the face of City budget cuts and believe with strong Council support our funding will be restored. 

9. Compost we produce supports Parks’s mission, parks, urban agriculture and street tree care. Queens Parks Horticulture and Green Thumb use most of our high quality compost in addition to over 1000 street trees a year and 150 greening projects. 

10. There is no need for more Parks parking lots under the Queensborough Bridge. The community wants to keep our site as a community resource. 

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