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Why compost?

Composting has many benefits - for you, for NYC, and for the Planet. There are a lot of good reasons to start making your own compost or dropping them off at your local FSDO to be made into compost.

Composting saves money

New York City spends hundreds of millions of dollars shipping the city’s trash to landfills. Composting saves the amount of money it costs to send waste to landfills, as well as the price taxpayers pay for pick up and disposal. Composting locally means less money spent on transportation. Compost is also a valuable resource that saves money spent on chemical fertilizers. 

Composting reduces greenhouse gases

When food scraps are sent to the landfill they break down anaerobically (without oxygen) which causes methane to be released. Composting doesn’t produce any methane as methane producing microbes are not active in the presence of oxygen. If you are composting locally with The NYC Compost Project, at a community garden, or in your backyard, you are also helping lower carbon emissions from transportation.

Composting creates a valuable soil amendment

When your food scraps break down and become compost instead of landfill, a valuable resource - compost - is created. Compost contains nutrients and beneficial microorganisms that keep the soil healthy. It helps improve soil structure and help balance pH levels. Compost also makes soil easier to work and cultivate. Compost can be used as mulch or mixed into soil. Because compost keeps the soil healthy,  It promotes plant growth and is essential for farmers and gardeners. Composting also reduced the need for chemical fertilizers.

Composting is a powerful tool for rat mitigation

There are over 2 million rats in NYC, and composting can be a great way to keep rats away from your home. When food scraps are thrown away with trash and placed on the curb in a plastic bag, they become easily accessible to rats and other animals. Properly managed compost systems keep food scraps out of smell range and reach of rats.

Composting retains water

Composting helps with water conservation and erosion control. Compost can hold up to 20 times its weight in water. This means farmers and gardeners need to use less water when they are using compost. Compost controls erosion by increasing water infiltration into the soil surface, increasing plant growth, alleviating compaction anf increasing water holding capacity which reduces runoff.

Composting creates jobs

According to a report by the Institute for Local Self Reliance, composting creates twice as many jobs as landfilling, and four times as many jobs as incineration. NYC’s unemployment rate is almost double the national average - and composting has the potential to create many new  sustainable jobs for NYC residents. 

Composting creates NYC connections

All the food scraps and yard waste collected by The NYC Compost Project hosted by Big Reuse get composted locally and returned to local greening organizations such as community gardens, parks and schools.  We invite folks onto our sites to volunteer and take tours so they can be connected to the composting process and see what happens with the food scraps they dropped off.

The above comes from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (, a national nonprofit organization working to strengthen local economies, and redirect discarded materials into local recycling, composting, and reuse enterprises. It is reprinted here with permission

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