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Donation Connections in NYC

Today, it is easier than ever to make the connection between donor and recipient for food or textiles in New York City. The city’s Department of Sanitation is actively working with small businesses and non-profit organizations to make these connections possible and to create more just like it. These efforts are under their organization donateNYC.

DonateNYC had their first NYCxReuse Conference, Expo, and Community Fest event this past June where Stay Blooming was an attendee. The Conference (Q&A panels), Expo (tabling and workshops), and Community Fest (networking) showcased businesses and organizations as well as the work they are actively doing for the reuse community within NYC.

Common things like food/furniture donations and textile reuse were the highlighted topics during panelist Q&As. Both of which will be highlighted here as well since the donateNYC donating system is more efficient and can be used more readily.

Here are the same resources for you!

donateNYC Exchange—The exchange makes it possible for businesses and non-profit organizations to gain access to used items and “exchange” them if you will. The platform connects groups that have unwanted furniture, supplies, cabinets, books, etc. to groups that are looking for those items specifically. Thus maximizing the use out of items/materials before they are scrapped or considered trash.

Image source: donateNYC
Here are some currently available items at the donateNYC Exchange.
Note: These items are only available for businesses and non-profit organizations.

donateNYC Food Portal—This portal allows users to give away leftover edible food as well as gain access to donated food. This program reduces the amount of organic waste that accumulates in trash or landfills. Thus decreasing the overall amount of organic waste that decomposes and prevents some New Yorkers from going hungry.

Image source: donateNYC

DSNY Textile/Clothing Drop-Off—This website serves as a location tool for donating used clothing and textiles drop-off sites. This helps to repurpose the fabrics and scraps that are leftover from making brand new garments as well as reusing fabrics from garments that have lived their life. Thus keeping a good amount of textiles out of the waste stream. Their drop-off map is below.

Image source: Google Maps
All of the drop-off sites for clothing and textiles across the city.

We can definitely call this an attempt to encourage a circular economy in the big apple. What is a circular economy? It is a system that works towards reducing waste through reuse and maximizing resources. This type of system is great for the environment and can also involve repairing items, investing in eco-friendly infrastructure, improving recycling, upcycling items, reusing parts of an item, and more—all of which to achieve a waste-free way of living.

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E-Waste Collection in NYC

Image source: U.S. News

Throwing electronics in the trash comes with a $100 fine in the city of New York. This includes items like mobile phones, televisions, DVD players, printers, video game consoles, tablets, or any other electronic waste that has no place in a landfill. The Department of Sanitation is not responsible for collecting these items even if they are left on the curb. It is the consumer’s responsibility to properly dispose of any electronics they no longer want.

So how does one responsibly get rid of their unwanted electronics?

1. Contact the manufacturer to see if they have a recycling program you can send your electronic(s) to

2. Best Buy retail stores take electronics to be recycled—to be certain, contact the store you wish to visit and inquire about the electronic you want to recycle

Or! You can attend one of these E-Waste Collection Events hosted by LES Ecology Center. The events are taking place mostly on weekends between 10am to 4pm, although each is at a unique place in NYC. By using the calendar on our Events page, you can view the dates & locations of upcoming collection events or click here for LES Ecology Center’s calendar. Bring your electronic waste!

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NYC Compost Project

I had the wonderful pleasure of sitting in for a presentation by a member of Queens Botanical Garden‘s Compost Project. I learned that this project is funded by the NYC’s Department of Sanitation, which is a wonderful effort on their part to create awareness & make rounds for organic matter collection.

organic compost
A complimentary bag of organic compost from Queen’s Botanical Garden’s Compost Project.

Here’s what I learned. Organic compost is made from food scraps, coffee grounds, soiled paper, and also leaf & yard waste. The process generally takes about 6 months, requiring a sheltered & enclosed space away from rodents (inevitable New York natives) and the elements but allowing for air to pass through. You can check to see if your compost is ready by taking a handful and putting it in air-tight bag. Smell the contents the next day and if it smells like ammonia, your compost is not ready. A good compost is thoroughly decomposed.

The reason for these efforts? Collecting organic compost recycles it completely and creates a mutualistic relationship between our trash & our sustainability needs as of lately. It also prevents it from entering landfills as trash. When organic matter finds itself there, it can produce methane as it decomposes which is more toxic to our atmosphere than CO2; adding to our greenhouse gas issue. You know, climate change.

nyc recyclables
Click to enlarge.

Homeowners and landlords can enroll their properties in organics collection with the Department of Sanitation by clicking here for the application.

Tenants of buildings can apply too but are encouraged to get applications from other residents living on the premises. If that’s not possible, there are also food scrap drop-off sites and you can click here for locations to those.

my organic compost use
Fun fact: Organic compost can also be used for house plants.

I hope this encourage readers to think about their trash a bit more consciously. If you’re considering composting but just want to learn more, consider reaching out to the NYC Project Compost sites by clicking here. There are a few different ways to get involved no matter who you are… try it out!

Happy composting!