Is it possible to get busy New York families to add dropping off food waste to their to-do lists?
The 14th Street Y community center answers yes.
Its composting program allows New Yorkers to compost their food scraps from home and dispose them at the Y.
“One of the things that we know about our members is life is so incredibly busy,” says Camille Diamond, director of community engagement and communications. “So we knew that if we were going to have people compost, we were going to have to use it from the lens that this will be easy for you, not preaching at you should do this.”
Composting is free to Y members and patrons, and drop off is available seven days a week during Y’s open hours.
Getting families involved is a big priority. This year, the Y extended composting to a summer camp: the New Country Day Camp in Staten Island. Kids compost their lunches and snacks by tossing food waste into a bin. The campers have composted 650 pounds this summer, according to Diamond.
They also incorporated composting activities into preschool and afterschool programs alongside camps.
Parents and children can bring compost to the Y, where they can weight it and text the word “Drop,” plus the number of pounds that they are composting.
In an extra way to attract families, every dropoff automatically enters people into a raffle, and every month a winner is selected for prizes from local venders.
Eventually, the compost is hauled to a composting plant in Delaware, which processes all the food waste.
What can you compost?
Bread, grains and pasta
Coffee grounds with paper filter
Cheese and all dairy
Eggshells and eggs
Fruit (pits, seeds and shells)
Meat (including bones)
Seafood (including shellfish)
Vegetables and peels
Nuts and nutshells