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Community Compost Program

Hudson River Park’s Community Compost Program invites local residents to participate in simple, yet effective actions to support sustainability in their neighborhood. The Community Compost Program is an initiative designed to help divert NYC’s organic waste from landfill and reduce carbon emissions that harm the environment. Since the Park’s earliest composting efforts in 2015, the Program has grown into a Park-wide operation turning over several hundred thousand pounds of food scraps and yard waste into compost a year.

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Students at Earth Flow composting

What is compost?

Compost is organic waste, like food and yard scraps, that has been broken down into a nutrient-rich, soil-like material. This breakdown process occurs through the work of many living microorganisms and macroorganisms like bacteria and worms, respectively. Compost is spread throughout our 4-mile riverfront park to enrich lawns and flowerbeds. Major benefits of composting include:

  • Composting food scraps helps recycle organic waste and return it back into the Earth
  • Nutrient rich compost helps plants absorb water and protect against pests and disease
  • Composting in Hudson River Park helps reduce our carbon footprint- NYC waste is sent to landfills outside of city limits in trucks and on barges, fueled by oil, which release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere
  • Helps reduce NYC’s zero waste goals – a third of all NYC waste that is exported to landfills is food or yard scraps.
  • Helps reduce methane gas emissions that contribute to climate change – organic waste that breaks down in landfills releases methane, a greenhouse gas that can retain 25 times more heat than carbon dioxide

Sifting through compost

What We’re Doing in HRPK

  • 10 food scrap drop-off sites available to the public throughout the Park’s four-mile footprint open from 7AM-7PM every day
  • In 2019, HRPK diverted a total of 430,000 pounds of organic waste from landfills, including 350,000 pounds of horticultural waste and 80,000 pounds of food scraps
  • The Park hosts compost-focused education programs and workshops, including the annual Pumpkin Smash, for the community to learn about best composting practices. In 2020, despite scaling down this event due to COVID-19, we collected 1000 pounds of pumpkin that will turn into compost!
  • Overall, Hudson River Park’s Community Compost enables the Park to self-sustain our green spaces, offsetting carbon dioxide emissions and costs associated with purchasing soil and fertilizer

Kid smashing a pumpkin at pumpkin smash

Community Compost Program News

  • Community Conversations: Meet David, Hudson River Park’s Compost Technician, and find out what amazing work goes into keeping our Community Compost Program running smoothly 
  • Compost Tip: Store your compost in your freezer in a reusable shopping bag or container. It’s a great place to keep your organic waste until you’re ready to drop it off in the Park because it eliminates smell! Bonus: Composting will keep your trash from getting stinky and filling up so quickly

How to Compost

The easiest way you can support our Community Compost Program is to collect your food scraps at home! Different composting facilities are able to break down various types of organic waste; here’s what Hudson River Park accepts at our drop-offs:

Yes

  • Fruit & vegetable scraps
  • Coffee grounds and filters
  • Teabags
  • Grains
  • Eggshells & nuts
  • Dried & cut flowers

No

  • Diapers
  • Compostable bags, utensils or containers
  • Dairy products
  • Meat, fish and bones
  • Fats, grease and oils
  • Plastic, metal or glass

Create a compost receptacle and store it in your freezer. This could be a reusable container, reusable shopping bag, or even a brown paper bag. Keeping compost in your freezer is a great way to eliminate smell that otherwise develops as your food scraps begin to decompose.

When you’re ready to drop off your compost, swing by any of Hudson River Park’s 10 drop-off sites. Our bins are available every day from 7AM-7PM at the following locations:

  • Pier 25 at N. Moore St near the Pier 25 Play Area
  • Pier 40 at Houston St near the Leroy Street Dog Park
  • Pier 46 at Charles St
  • Pier 51 at Horatio St near the Pier 51 comfort station
  • 14th Street Park at the southwest corner of 15th St and 10th Ave
  • Chelsea Waterside Park at the 23rd St and 11th Ave entrance
  • Pier 66 at W 26 St (NEW)
  • HRPK’s Compost Center at W 34 St
  • Pier 84 at W 44th St. near the Pier 84 Dog Park
  • Pier 96 Boathouse at W 55 St (NEW)

This program was made possible by generous donations and support from Chris Fiore and L Brands Inc., NYC Department of Sanitation and Council Member Corey Johnson.

Get Involved

Hudson River Park’s Community Compost Program is growing, and you’re invited to take part in this expanding initiative! Here are some ways you can lend a helping hand:

  • Volunteer: Become a Compost Volunteer and help to process and survey organic waste in HRPK’s Compost Center. Work side-by-side with our horticulture team and in this hands-on role.
  • Become a Sponsor: As a  Sustainability Sponsor you help support not only our Community Compost Program, but community education and sustainability initiatives throughout the Park. Sponsors receive exciting opportunities to promote their band and engage their employees in the Park.

Volunteer students in the habitat garden

Resources

Hudson River Park’s Community Compost Program Impacts:
Where to Compost in NYC:
Educational Resources