Andrea Aliseda

[email protected]

Late July, BBC broke a story that rattled the world, setting a new staggering deadline to lower carbon emissions: 18 months. 

Just last year, we had 12 years. 

And now with the Amazon forest on fire, which is responsible for 20 percent of the world’s oxygen, as reported by CNN, it is imperative that each individual assumes more personal responsibility for their carbon footprint. 

A great way to start is by being mindful of food consumption and food waste. Cutting down or eliminating beef intake, which according to a 2019 National Geographic article, contributes to 40 percent of methane emissions, compared to a 14 percent of our annual footprint which is contributed to waste. Methane traps heat, causing temperatures to rise. 

According to a 2018 article published by The Washington Post, “food waste that decomposes in landfills releases methane, a greenhouse gas that is at least 28 times more potent than carbon dioxide.” 

But food waste that decomposes in soil with other food waste, otherwise known as composting, actually reduces the amount of methane greenhouse gases, according to Re-Gen. The WaPo confirms composting could significantly reduce carbon emissions drawing research from Project Drawdown, saying it could “reduce emissions by 2.3 billion tons over the next 30 years.” 

Compost photo by Ben Kerckx.

So, what does it mean to compost?

Composting is the process of organic material, like fruit and vegetable scraps, breaking down and decomposing in soil. The soil then becomes a nutrient-rich fertiliser that feeds and nourishes new seeds into fruition. 

Like we reported in this 2018 article, curbside collection of compost in small brown bins, spotted in the likes of communities like Park Slope, are available in, “44 community boards across the five boroughs, and Bushwick isn’t one of them.”

Which makes it more inconvenient to compost, but not any less urgent. 

What should you compost?

BK Rot, a local Bushwick composting service has a comprehensive list online of what is acceptable for compost. Bear in mind, it’s generally best to freeze your scraps until you’re ready for drop-off. And don’t forget to toss the little things like, produce stickers and rubber bands or corks!

Here are some compost drop-off locations in Bushwick:

Site name: Irving Square Park

Location: Corner of Halsey and Knickerbocker 

Open: Year-round, except: Closed on Memorial Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and Labor Day

Hours: Monday 8 am – 11 am

Hosted by: NYC compost project

Site name: Bushwick grows! Community garden

Location: 1474 Gates Avenue

Open: Year-round

Hours: Saturdays, 10:00 AM – 01:00 PM

Hosted by: Volunteers at Bushwick Grows! Community Garden


Site name: Know Waste Lands 

Location: 1309 Dekalb Ave

Open: Year-round

Hours: Sundays 10:30 AM – 4PM

Hosted by: BK Rot

Nearby drop-off in Bed-Stuy:

Site name: Phoenix Community Garden

Location: 20 Somers Street

Open: Seasonal, April – November

Hours: Thursdays & Fridays, 4:00 PM – 7:00 PM

Saturdays, 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Hosted by: Volunteers at Phoenix Community Garden

nearby drop-off in Williamsburg:

Site name: Scholes Street Children’s Garden

Location: 134 Scholes St, Brooklyn, NY 11206

Open: Year Round

Hours: Tuesdays, Thursdays, & Saturdays, 01:00 PM-07:00 PM

Hosted by: Volunteers at Scholes Street Children’s Garden


Site name: McCarren Park Greenmarket

Location: Union Ave and Driggs Ave.

Open: Year Round

Hours: Saturdays, 8am-2pm

If dropping off compost is not feasible in your existing schedule, consider signing up for BK Rot’s compost pick-up service for a monthly fee, where a biker collects your compost directly from your front door. 

Remember there’s strength in numbers, but change begins with us as individuals, in our homes and in our everyday lives. It’s just a matter of looking close enough and asking the right questions: not “when?”, but “how?” 

Cover photo by Andy Chilton on Unsplash.

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