How to participate in curbside composting in Queens

Say goodbye to your garbage troubles — the largest curbside composting program in the nation has arrived in Queens. Many residents say it couldn't have come any sooner.

"Composting is such an easy thing that you can do," Queens resident Kaari Casey told Fox 5 News. "It makes the planet happy, it makes our communities cleaner, it doesn't take any more time out of your day."

This is a three-month pilot program. Sanitation Commissioner Jessica Tisch said the department hopes to make the program permanent and citywide.

"The idea here is, we've got to get the food waste out of the black trash bags," Tisch said.

Food waste includes fruit and vegetable scraps, cheese, bones, eggshells, paper plates, and used coffee filters. Food waste does not include diapers, hygienic or foam products, wrappers, or packaging. Residents can also compost yard waste, such as leaves and grass clippings. See What to Compost below for guidance.

Crews will come by once a week to pick up compostable waste on the same day recyclables are collected. The program began Monday, Oct. 3. The deadline to order a free brown bin was Oct. 1 but residents can also use their own sealed bins to throw away food scraps if they use a special label.

Once the organic waste is collected, some of it will head to a composting facility on Staten Island and undergo a process to bring nutrient-rich soil back to the city's parks and gardens.

The pilot program also has another appeal far beyond its environmental benefits. Neighbors are hoping it will help stem the city's rodent problem.

"If you throw it out in the right place, it would be great so that we prevent insects, rats, and all those things. That will help a lot," one Astoria business owner said.


All leaf and yard waste

Place leaves, flowers, twigs, grass clippings, and more waste from your yard in a labeled bin or bag separate from trash.

All food waste and food-soiled paper

Place fruit and vegetable scraps, bones, shells, moldy cheese, simple leftovers, napkins, paper towels, and uncoated plates in a bin with a secure lid. Label bin with a free Composting Bin Decal; you can order one at


Diapers and hygienic products, animal waste, wrappers and packaging, or foam products. Put these items in household trash.

Metal, glass, rigid plastic, beverage cartons, clean recyclable paper, or cardboard. Place these items in recycling. 

You can read more details here.