Food & Drink

Composting in Brooklyn: A guide to not being wasteful & incompetent

As busy New Yorkers, time escapes us. One thing leads to another, end of the week appears out of nowhere, we open our fridge door and…that doesn’t look edible. We find the beautiful fruit and veggies in our refrigerators going off. Sometimes, we find that we prepped too much food at home, and spent the whole week anywhere but home.

But even when inedible food accumulates, it doesn’t have to go to waste! Composting drop-offs are popping up everywhere, meaning we have no excuse to let our scraps not be properly recycled. It doesn’t have to be large amounts of scraps either. It can be a small collection of vegetable roots and skin, seeds, flowers, etc.

Making composting a part of your daily habits, I know, can seem like a daunting task. Your manic lifestyle has no time for this hippie-dippy nonsense, leave the earth-saving to the tree huggers. However, composting uses limited supplies and with the help of drop-offs in Brooklyn, it’s a speedy process too. Just figure out where you’d like to put the compost (a bag or container in a cold and dry space such as your fridge or freezer will do just fine), start collecting waste (avoid meats, toxic substances, grease and processed foods) and then drop off at your convenience.

Food waste is not an issue to be taken lightly. In New York City, about one-third of our waste is compostable food. That number is alarming and we can quite easily eliminate one-third of our waste by composting it into material that will help us grow organic produce. We got this, Brooklyn!

I think it’s fair to say nobody wants decomposing, rotting food in their apartment. Here are a few pointers about what to compost and how to store scraps for compost:

  • Avoid meats and meat by-products
  • Avoid paper or packaging the food may have came in (paper towels are okay)
  • Avoid extremely greasy food
  • Store your scraps in a paper bag or plastic container in the freezer or fridge to avoid problems with rotting

The Brooklyn Botanic Garden hosts drop off locations, run by NYC Compost Project, at the following sites. (These drop-offs are open year round but are subject to be closed with bad weather conditions and on national holidays.)

Operates: Mondays 7:30am – 9:30am
Clinton Ave. and Fulton St., near the entrance of the Clinton–Washington C subway station

Operates: Mondays 7:30am – 9:30am
Fulton St. and Stuyvesant Ave., at Fulton Park near the entrance of the Utica A, C subway station

Franklin Ave.
Operates Wednesdays 8am – 10am
Franklin Ave. and Eastern Parkway, north corner, near the entrance of the 2, 3, 4, 5 subway station.

7th Ave.
Operates: Wednesdays 8am – 10am
Park Place and Carlton Ave., near the entrance of the B, Q subway station

Church Ave.
Operates: Thursdays 8am – 10am
Church Ave. and Nostrand Ave., north corner, near the entrance of the 2, 5 subway station

Red Hook Community Farm
Operates: Fridays 9am – 12; Saturdays 10:30am – 1 pm (April to November only)
103 Otsego St.

Here are the borough’s other food scrap drop-off sites, as listed by the Department of Sanitation:

Fort Greene Greenmarket, Fort Greene
Operates: Saturdays 8am – 3pm
Washington Park at DeKalb Avenue

Brooklyn Borough Hall Greenmarket, Downtown Brooklyn
Operates: Thursdays 8am – 2pm; Saturdays 8am – 4pm
Court St & Montague St

Big Reuse Brooklyn, Gowanus
Operates: Thursdays 10am-6pm; Fridays 10am-4pm
69 9th St.

Irving Square Park, Bushwick
Operates: Mondays 8am – 11am
Corner of Halsey St. and Knickerbocker Ave.

McGolrick Park’s Down to Earth Farmers Market, Greenpoint
Operates: Sundays 12pm – 3pm
McGolrick Park

McCarren Park Greenmarket, Williamsburg
Operates: Saturdays 8am – 2pm
Union Ave. and Driggs Ave.

Bay Ridge Greenmarket, Bay Ridge
Operates: Saturdays 8am – 1pm (May to November only)
3rd Ave. and 95th St.

Carroll Gardens Greenmarket, Carroll Gardens
Operates: Sundays 8am – 1pm
Carroll St. between Smith and Court

Cortelyou Greenmarket, Ditmas Park
Operates: Sundays 8am – 1pm
Between Argyle and Rugby roads

Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket Prospect Heights
Operates: Saturdays 8am – 3:30pm
NW corner of Prospect Park

Parkside Plaza Greenmarket, Prospect Lefferts Gardens
Operates: Sundays 9am – 1pm (June to November only)
Parkside Ave. and Ocean Ave.

Sunset Park Greenmarket, Sunset Park
Operates: Saturdays 8am – 1pm (July to November only)
4th Ave. between 59th and 60th streets

Did we miss a drop-off point? Let us know in the comments!


  1. Bobi Wood

    Sorry, I forgot to click the “notify me of followup comments via e-mail” button. My question is, where can you get compost for gardening? Is there a group that dispenses it for free?

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