Lower Manhattan Launches NYC’s First Smartphone-Enabled Public Compost Program

Lower Manhattan Launches NYC’s First Smartphone-Enabled Public Compost Program

Lower Manhattan Launches NYC’s First Smartphone-Enabled Public Compost Program

Program is provided by the Alliance for Downtown New York, the NYC Department of Sanitation and emz, with support from Brookfield Properties  

NEW YORK (December 10, 2021) – Today, the Alliance for Downtown New York, NYC Department of Sanitation and emz, with support from Brookfield Properties, launched a new composting program to serve Lower Manhattan. The Alliance has installed ten compost bins in the area south of Chambers Street, making the program accessible within a five-minute walk of 90% of the neighborhood. The bins will collect food waste and mark a first-in-the-nation initiative that uses mobile technology to make drop-off composting easy and accessible to the public 24/7. Simultaneously, the program tests a secure and easy-to-replicate food waste management system that could be implemented in any public space.

Designed by emz, an environmental technology company, the compost bins are accessible through the mobile app eGate Digi, which allows users to unlock specific receptacles through a Bluetooth connection. This makes them distinct from the over 100 community composting sites currently operating in New York City, which are only open certain hours – these bins will be available for compost drop-off to app users regardless of time of day.     

The program accepts all forms of organic waste, including food items, food-soiled paper and house plants. DSNY handles the waste, which is diverted to local and regional composting facilities for large-scale composting or made into renewable energy through anaerobic digestion. The finished compost is returned to NYC parks and gardens and the renewable energy is used to heat homes, generate electricity, and replace the use of fossil fuels. Unlike community compost sites, these bins can accept even “hard to compost” food scraps like meat and dairy.

The EPA estimates that food scraps account for nearly a quarter of curbside waste in the nation. When this waste is discarded in landfills, it generates considerable amounts of methane, a greenhouse gas far more damaging than carbon dioxide. By simply diverting organic material, individuals can have a significantly positive impact on the environment. In New York City, up to one-third of the waste stream may be compostable.

“Our goal is for this pilot program to grow and divert more food waste from our landfills.  We hope to change people’s behavior. The city has a zero waste goal and public composting is the next frontier.  Trying something like this, in a major metropolis like New York, is a big deal,” said Jessica Lappin, President, Alliance for Downtown New York. “We’re calling on all our Downtown neighbors to help us prove that New Yorkers can embrace change and do our part to save the planet.”

“On Earth Day of this year, DSNY announced that ‘smart compost bins’ would start to appear around the City soon. I’m proud to help unveil the first batch in Lower Manhattan – and want to promise New Yorkers in all five boroughs that these first bins won’t be the last,” said Edward Grayson, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Sanitation. DSNY is the largest municipal waste agency in the world, and a leader in sustainability and waste diversion.

“Thanks to this partnership, New Yorkers can turn organic waste such as food scraps into clean and renewable energy. If we are to achieve our city’s climate goals, we must dramatically alter how we process garbage and refuse. I believe that placing collection bins that will be accessible 24/7 to the local community makes the process much easier and is a surefire way to see composting participation increase city-wide. I walk to deposit my household’s fruit and vegetable scraps every week at my local greenmarket,” said Council Member Margaret Chin. “And I am so glad that other families in my district will now have the opportunity to do the same.” 

Find compost bins at the following locations:

  • Zuccotti Park (Southwest corner of Broadway and Liberty Street)
  • One New York Plaza (corner of Broad and Water Streets)
  • Platt and Gold Streets (Southeast corner)
  • Maiden Lane and Pearl Street (Northwest corner)
  • Cedar and William Streets (Northeast corner)
  • Wall and Pearl Streets (Southwest corner)
  • Rector and Washington Streets (Southeast corner)
  • John and William Streets (Northwest corner)
  • Bowling Green (inside the North entrance)
  • Bowling Green (inside the South entrance)

About the New York City Department of Sanitation

The Department of Sanitation (DSNY) keeps New York City healthy, safe and clean by collecting, recycling and disposing of waste, cleaning streets and vacant lots, and clearing snow and ice. The Department operates 59 district garages and manages a fleet of more than 2,000 rear-loading collection trucks, 450 mechanical brooms and 705 salt spreaders. The Department clears litter, snow and ice from approximately 6,500 miles of City streets and removes debris from vacant lots as well as abandoned vehicles from City streets.

About emz – environmental technology

emz – environmental technology is an independent solution provider in the field of smart waste management. emz – environmental technology’s IOT portfolio is composed of electronically controlled locks which can be retrofitted into any type of disposal container. emz-et moreover provides a selection of sensors, and various cloud-based management dashboards, which enable detailed analysis of citizen disposal behavior along with remote control of assets in the field. Interactivity between waste collectors and end users is ensured through a mobile app. emz-et’s solution portfolio enables waste collectors and property owners to incentivize positive recycling behavior, thus contributing to the global goal of a world with “zero waste.”

About The Alliance for Downtown New York

The mission of the Alliance for Downtown New York is to provide service, advocacy, research and information to advance Lower Manhattan as a global model of a 21st century Central Business District for businesses, residents and visitors. The Downtown Alliance manages the Downtown-Lower Manhattan Business Improvement District (BID), serving an area roughly from City Hall to the Battery, from the East River to West Street. For more information visit downtownny.com