Downtown Public Compost Pilot Program

Downtown Public Compost Pilot Program

Sign Up for 24/7 Access to Compost

Here’s your chance to do some good for the planet: Participate in the Downtown Public Compost Pilot, the first-of-its-kind, secured, unmanned, public composting program! These 10 bins located across Lower Manhattan are accessible 24/7 and can be unlocked through a mobile app, eGate digi.

Click or scan this QR Code with your phone to get started

It’s simple to use.

  1. Download the eGate Digi app from the QR code above, or on any of our bins.
  2. Sign up for an account.
  3. Allow app to use Bluetooth.
  4. Unlock the bin and drop your compost in. (Unsure what goes in? See our FAQ below.)
  5. Please close the bin behind you.

This pilot program is managed by the Downtown Alliance in partnership with the NYC Department of Sanitation and emz, with support from Brookfield Properties.

Show that you are committed to a more sustainable NYC by participating in this innovative composting program!

Compost Bin Locations in Lower Manhattan

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I put into Downtown Public Compost bins? 

All food items are accepted in the Downtown Public Compost Pilot, including meat, dairy, and leftovers. Food-soiled paper like tea bags, coffee filters, napkins, and paper plates are accepted. Leaves and house plants can also go in the brown bin.

DO compost :

  • ALL FOOD WASTE including
    • coffee grounds and tea bags
    • shells (seafood, nut, and egg)
    • bones
    • spoiled and expired food
    • food soiled paper (napkins, towels,
      uncoated plates, bags, trays, boxes)
  • Yard and Plant Waste including:
    • leaves
    • spent flowers and trimmings
    • small twigs
    • grass clippings

BPI-approved compostable items.

DO NOT compost:

  • Trash of any kind including:
    • diapers and hygienic products
    • animal waste
    • wrappers and packaging
    • foam products
    • chopsticks
  • Recyclables including:
    • metal
    • glass
    • rigid plastic
    • beverage cartons
    • clean recyclable paper
    • cardboard

Can I put my compostable bowl/utensils in the Downtown Public Compost Bin?

Yes, you may place compostable bowls/utensils in this bin. Plastic lids, however, should be placed in the trash. 

How do I join the Downtown Public Compost program? 

Download the eGate Digi app. This will take you to a preview page that will direct you to the appropriate app store for your phone, click ‘Open’. Download the eGate Digi app. Sign up for an account (you must allow the app to use Bluetooth!), and you’ll be able to select the bin you would like to unlock through the app. Please reach out if you have any issues with the download process. 

I am trying to sign up but there is no activation code. How do I get the activation code?

If the activation code is not showing up after using the QR code or link, you may use the following code: VD1G9EVGTV50 to sign up.

How do I use the Downtown Public Compost bin?

Open the eGate Digi app and select the bin you would like to unlock (every bin is numbered). Tap the icon to unlock the bin. Once you have dumped your organic waste, please remember to close the bin. 

What if the bin malfunctions while I’m using it?

Open the eGate Digi app and click on “Report an Error.” Fill out the error report and someone from our staff will check on the malfunction. 

How long will you be offering this service? 

The Downtown Public Compost program is a pilot program. We will continue this program for as long as we are able to service the bins and will provide notice if the program has to be discontinued.  

My lunch came in a plastic bag/Can I collect my food scraps in a plastic bag and dump the plastic bag, too? 

We’d prefer it if you dumped your organic waste into the bin and then disposed of the plastic bag in the BigBelly trash can located next to the compost bin. Better yet, use compostable bags or paper bags to dump your organic waste!  

Why do I need an app to use these bins? 

Keeping these bins locked and secure means that they are available for use 24/7. By having people opt in to using the bins, we can help minimize contamination of the organic waste so that everything collected can be more easily processed into compost and renewable energy. 

This app is buggy and I can’t open the bins. Now what?

If you’re receiving an error message or are otherwise not able to open the bins, please report the issue through the app or through our Contact Us form. Screenshots of the error are helpful as are any additional details on the issue you were experiencing. We are tracking what’s being reported and are working with our support team on  issues as they arise. 

If the app is not working for you and you’d like to continue composting, you can find other compost dropoff sites throughout the city here. Before visiting, be sure to check the operating hours and accepted materials, as these will vary. 

What happens to the organic waste in these bins?

Most of the organic waste collected from residents through this pilot is taken to local and regional composting facilities, where it is composted on a large scale. Finished compost is used in NYC parks and gardens. A portion of the organic waste collected is converted to renewable energy.

I’m interested in receiving program updates. How do I sign up?

You can sign up at the link. Any program updates will be sent from this email address [email protected]

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