CPN launched a volunteer-run Food Scrap Drop Off site (FSDO) on Jan. 27, 2022 in College Point Park, located on 14th Ave. and College Point Blvd. Within 8 months, participation grew so much, with our community dropping off about 400 lbs of food scraps and yard waste each week! As of October, GrowNYC took over operation of the site with paid staff members, marking an even stronger commitment to College Point’s FSDO in the long-term. Drop your food scraps at College Point Park every Friday from 8:30 am until 1 pm!
Also as of October, DSNY has re-launched curbside organics collection throughout all of Queens, on a voluntary basis! Find out your collection day here. Curbside organics collection in Queens is being temporarily stopped as of December 25, 2022, and will resume in late March 2023. FSDOs will continue operating; please check the schedules here.
What can you bring to the Food Scrap Drop Off Site? Everything that can decompose! Fruits and vegetables; eggshells, nuts and nutshells; meats, bones, cheese; flowers and houseplant trimmings; coffee grounds and teabags; rice, bread, pasta, grains; BPI-certified compostable plastic products.
Are you new to this whole concept? A great way to start, is to start small. Each week, choose an item that you’ll store separately from your trash. Maybe start with coffee grounds or tea bags, and put them inside a reusable container or a paper/plastic bag. You can store scraps in the freezer, in a countertop bin, in a covered kitchen trash can, or even outdoors in a locked cooler during the winter. As you get into the habit, try separating some other items, like, dinnertime veggie scraps, breakfast eggshells, or wilted flowers. You’ll quickly notice how much emptier your “trash” bag is.
This is College Point’s first-ever FSDO! Why did we launch this site? One-third of NYC’s waste is “organic” – meaning, alive at some point. When tossed in the trash and dumped at landfills, organic waste takes up valuable space and releases a greenhouse gas (methane) that is at least 10x more potent than carbon dioxide. A smarter approach is to use food waste to make compost and renewable energy, diverting it from landfills. We launched our site in partnership with the NYC Compost Project at Queens Botanical Garden and with GrowNYC.
What happens to all of these food scraps? Scraps collected at CPN’s site are hauled by GrowNYC to the Newtown Creek Waste Water Treatment Plant in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Food waste and sewage sludge decompose inside of eight stainless steel “digester eggs” that are 145 feet tall and illuminated with blue light at night — you may have seen these near the Kosciuszko Bridge. There is no oxygen in these tanks, so waste is decomposed by anaerobic bacteria that produce methane and other byproducts to form a renewable natural gas. That gas can then be purified and used to generate electricity.The scraps will ultimately be converted into natural gas to power thousands of homes.
Other food scraps collected throughout the city are turned into compost that’s used in city parks and given out free to residents, and some scraps are shipped to a composting facility in Massachusetts. Read more about the program in Gothamist and on Waste 360.
College Point’s site is one of 200+ sites (some run by volunteers, other run by DSNY- and GrowNYC-funded staff) across the five boroughs. If you live nearby (CP, Whitestone, Flushing, Bayside) give it a try. Our goal is to get curbside organics collection permanently returned to Northeast Queens. It was discontinued after the Covid pandemic due to budget cuts, and was brought back in Oct. 2022 Queens-wide on a voluntary basis (not mandatory). We want to see curbside composting citywide and mandatory for all!
Special thanks to our partners at: the NYC Compost Project at Queens Botanical Garden, who helped launch our FSDO; GrowNYC, for hauling our scraps and bringing us empty bins each week; Big Reuse, for offering curbside composting education at our FSDO; the NYC Parks Department, for weekly use of College Point Park and storage space for our toters; and all who have helped to publicize.