How to live greener in New York City – Metro US

How to live greener in New York City

Everyone wants the earth to be in a long-lasting stable condition; however, living in an environmentally friendly way in New York City can sometimes appear to be more work than it’s worth.

That’s why the New York Department of Sanitationhas taken the lead to make living a greener life in New York as simple as possible.

With these four programs in place, there are no excuses when it comes to tossing unwanted electronics on the curb (since April 1 this can result in a fine of $100), or throwing out food scraps, harmful household products or clothing.

1. Commuter Composting

Drop-off your food scraps on your way to work at one of the conveniently located food scrap drop-off sites near train stops. Stop by on weekday mornings and NYC Compost Project will compost your scraps locally.

When: 8 to 11 a.m.


Vernon Jackson – 7 train stop at Vernon Boulevard and 50 Avenue, New York, NY

Greenpoint Avenue – G train stop at Greenpoint and Manhattan Avenues, Brooklyn, NY

Ditmars – N/Q train stop at 21-45 31 Street, Astoria, NY

Broadway – N/Q train stop at Broadway and 31 Street, Astoria, NY

23rd Street – C/E train stop at 23 Street and 8 Avenue, New York, NY

2 Avenue – F train stop at 1 Avenue and Houston, New York, NY

What you can bring:

  • Fruit and vegetable scraps

  • Coffee grounds, filters, and paper tea bags

  • Bread and grains

  • Egg shells

  • Nutshells

  • Corncobs

  • Food-soiled paper towels and napkins

  • Shredded newspaper

  • Sawdust and wood shavings from untreated wood

  • Stale beans, flour, and spices

  • Cut or dried flowers

  • Houseplants and potting soil

  • Feathers

Don’t bring:

  • Meat or fish scraps

  • Cheese or dairy products

  • Fats, grease, oil, or oily foods

  • Cat or dog feces

  • Kitty litter

  • Colored or glossy paper

  • Sawdust made from pressure-treated plywood or lumber

  • Coal or charcoal ashes

  • Non-compostable materials like plastic, metals, or glass

  • Diseased or insect-infested houseplants and soil

  • Biodegradable or compostable plastics

2.SAFE Disposal Events

In order to help New Yorkers dispose of harmful household products (solvents, automotive, flammables and electronics) DSNY hosts SAFE Disposal events throughout the year in all five boroughs. You must provide proof of NYC residency (like a driver’s license or utility bill)to take part in the event. Don’t mix products or bring open containers and if an item is leaking pack it into a larger container and use an absorbent material (kitty litter, newspaper) to soak up the excess fluid.

Upcoming Events:


Sunday August 9 at Prospect Park, Park Circle at the corner of Parkside Avenue and Prospect Park Southwest


Sunday August 23 at Union Square, North Plaza just south of 17 Street between Park Avenue South and Broadway

Staten Island

Saturday September 12 at Midland Beach parking lot at Father Capodanno Boulevard and Hunter Avenue.

What you can bring:

  • Automotive products such as motor oil, transmission fluid, and spent batteries

  • Personal care items like unwanted medicines or cosmetics

  • Thermometers

  • Syringes (clearly labeled and packaged in a “sharps” container or other leak proof, puncture-resistant container)

  • Household products such as pesticides, paint, hazardous cleaners, spent compact fluorescent lightbulbs

  • Electronics


New Yorkers throw out approximately 200,000 tons of clothing, towels, blankets, curtains, shoes, handbags, belts and other apparel every year. Re-FashioNYC, a partnership between the DSNY and Housing Works, aims to make clothing donation as easy as possible through a convenient in-building service. DSNY will visit eligible and enrolled buildings to discuss the number and sizes of bins and where they should be placed, when the bin is full you can call or email for pickup (guaranteed within five business days.) Tax receipts for up to $250 are available for the bin.

What buildings are eligible?

  • Apartment buildings with over ten units.

  • Office buildings

  • Commercial businesses (such as fashion industry, storage facilities, gyms, laundromats, and hotels)

  • Schools and institutions

Accepted items:

  • Clothing (from women, men & children)

  • Shoes, purses, gloves, scarves, hats & belts

  • Towels, curtains, bedding & linens

  • Clean rags and clothing scraps


Similarly to re-fashioNYC, e-cycle is a free and convenient way to dispose of old electronics. DSNY will visit buildings to discuss different service options depending on the size and type of building. Here are the three service options:

Room cleanouts for buildings with 10 or more units

These buildings can store electronics in a secure, enclosed area before they are picked up.

Storage bins for buildings with 50 or more units

These buildings can store electronics in a locked bin provided by e-cycleNYC, two bin sizes are availablesmall (2’ by 4’ by 5’) and large (2’ by 5.5’ by 6’).

Outdoor electronics recycling events for buildings with 250 or more units

These buildings can work with e-cycleNYC to schedule outdoor electronics recycling events for building residents. When the building is ready they can call or email e-cycleNYC and there is guaranteed pickup within five business days for room cleanouts and three business days for bin removal.