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Curbside Organics Recycling Begins in Brooklyn on Oct. 2


Curbside organics recycling, Brooklyn rollout, greenhouse gases, landfills, composting.

Brown bins will begin showing up in Brooklyn on Oct. 2 when mandatory curbside organics recycling begins.

Sept. 26, 2023

For the 2.5 million residents of Brooklyn — including those who live in co-ops and condos — life will become a little bit greener on Monday, Oct. 2 when the city begins mandatory curbside pickup of organic waste. The rollout is part of the city's push to keep organic matter — coffee grounds, banana peels, yard waste and much more — for going to landfills, where it creates methane, a greenhouse gas.

Organic material makes up about one-third of the city’s residential waste, and composting more of it will be critical if the city hopes to achieve its goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050.

Beginning Oct. 2, Brooklynites will have to separate their organic waste and put it in brown bins for curbside pickup. Queens has already been under a composting mandate since June, and the rule will spread to Staten Island and the Bronx in March 2024, followed by Manhattan in October 2024.

The mandatory program stems from a bill passed by the City Council in June. Mayor Eric Adams was already planning a voluntary program with similar phase-in dates, but lawmakers sought to strengthen it with their bill, saying mandatory composting would be the only way to achieve widespread participation, Crain's reports.

Building owners who don’t comply with the new rule will be given written warnings until April 1, 2025, at which point they will face the same penalties imposed for improper recycling sorting: between $25 and $100 for homes and small buildings, and $100 to $400 for larger buildings.

The city will provide free brown bins to Brooklyn residents until Oct. 13. To get a free bin or check your collections schedule, click here.

There are strict rules about what can and cannot be recycled. Do recycle: meat, bones, dairy, prepared foods, banana peels, coffee grounds and greasy uncoated paper plates and pizza boxes; leaf and yard waste can be placed in the brown bin, in a clear plastic bag or in a sealable container 55 gallons or less. Do NOT recycle: diapers, personal hygiene products, animal waste, non-paper packaging and foam products.

To learn your neighborhood's curbside pickup schedule, click here.

Until service begins in your area, you can use a nearby Smart Composting Bin or a food scrap drop-off site. 

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