NYC Leaves: Project LeafDrop 2010

Cherry Leaves, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, November 2008.
Cherry Leaves

For the second year, a city-wide coalition of community gardens and other groups has organized Project LeafDrop to collect leaves from residents for composting. Again this year, most of the drop-off sites are located in Brooklyn. Check the map for locations near you, and the dates and times of your preferred locations.

View NYCLeaves: Project LeafDrop 2010 Locations in a larger map

Flatbush area residents have three exciting new options: community garden and composting sites which didn’t even exist a year ago, for last year’s LeafDrop! Sustainable Flatbush is collecting leaves this Saturday, November 6 and next, November 13, from 11am to 1pm at East 21st Street and Kenmore Terrace, at the site of the new Communal Garden in partnership with the Flatbush Reformed Church, the Flatbush CSA, and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Compost for Brooklyn, at Newkirk Avenue and East 8th Street in Kensington, and Prospect Farm, in Windsor Terrace, and also new.

Press Releases

Sustainable Flatbush

Sustainable Flatbush is proud to be part of Project LeafDrop 2010: “a coalition of community gardens, botanical gardens, greening groups, environmental organizations, City agencies and community partners dedicated to moving fallen leaves from the trash bin to the compost bin.” The new Church Avenue Communal Garden, a project of our Urban Gardens and Farms Initiative, will hold leaf collections on November 6th and November 13th from 11am till 1pm, and we’ll also be looking for interested volunteers to help us construct a leaf bin to hold what we collect. So bring your fall leaves to the corner of East 21st Street and Kenmore Terrace (1 block south of Church Avenue), and be part of the movement for less garbage and more gardens!

Until 2007, the NYC Department of Sanitation collected leaves in the fall and brought them to a municipal composting site in Staten Island; this compost was made available to urban gardeners at pickup sites throughout the city in the spring. In 2008 the program was discontinued in response to budget cuts, and New York City’s leaves were carted to landfills along with the rest of our garbage, where they represent both a major addition (20,000 TONS) to the city’s waste management burden and a missed opportunity to create free, high-quality gardening fertilizer for NYC residents and community gardens.

In 2008, a pilot project at 6/15 Green garden in Park Slope, Brooklyn, collected over 1.5 tons of leaves from Brooklyn residents, indicating a deep desire in the community to keep residential leaves out of the overburdened waste stream and recycle them into nutrient-rich plant food. The following year a network of gardens joined forces to create Project LeafDrop, collecting leaves in neighborhoods throughout the City. Sustainable Flatbush joined this newly formed coalition and collected 1,740 pounds of leaves from Flatbush residents in just four hours. We are proud to participate in Project LeafDrop 2010!


NYCLeaves: Project LeafDrop, a lively coalition of community garden, open space and greening groups, and other community partners are dedicated to reducing usable organic materials in the City’s wastestream. They are working together to direct fallen leaves from the trash bin to the compost bin. Last year, residents throughout the City brought over 8 tons of leaves to Project LeafDrop sites…leaves that would otherwise be part of the 20,000 tons of leaves that go into the City’s already-overburdened landfills. Savvy community gardeners turned them into beautiful, rich compost and mulch for garden beds and hungry street trees. As more sites are joining the project, they expect to do even better, this year.

Project LeafDrop 2010 sites welcome neighborhood residents to bring their bagged leaves (in clear plastic or paper bags without twigs or trash!) to participating sites on specific dates in November.

Information will be available at many sites about how to make compost in your own garden or apartment and about efforts to encourage the City to reinstate its municipal leaf recycling/give-back program.

To register a garden or other open space as a Project LeafDrop 2010 site, to find participating sites and dates near you, to volunteer to help or for more information about the project, check out the group’s website: or email them at

Until 2008, New York City collected over 20,000 tons of leaves annually, composting much of it and making the fertile compost available to the public. But, since that program was discontinued due to budget cuts, leaves collected at curbsides are treated just like regular garbage. Project LeafDrop gives New Yorkers the chance to recycle residential leaves into “brown gold” that will nourish the City’s urban oases and be kept out of the wastestream.

In 2008, a pilot project at 6/15 Green garden in Park Slope, Brooklyn, collected over a 1 1/2 tons of leaves, revealing a deep desire in the community to keep autumn leaves out of the City’s wastestream and transform them into compost. In 2009, NYCLeaves created Project LeafDrop to expand that program. In its first year, residents brought over 8 tons of leaves to participating sites for recycling into “brown gold”. Many groups worked with Master Composters from the NYC Compost Project to provided educational material about home and backyard composting. Information was also available to raise awareness about the importance of reinstating the City’s municipal leaf composting/give back program.

Bringing bagged leaves to a Project LeafDrop site lightens the City’s load of trash, saves the City the money it would spend collecting and getting rid of leaves, and redirects this precious natural resource to its best use – as compost to enrich exhausted urban soil or feed stressed and hungry street trees. It’s a win/win!


Related Content


Leaf Composting with Project LeafDrop, Sustainable Flatbush
Compost for Brooklyn

BK DECAY: Brooklyn Community Leaf Composting, 11/7&8, 11/14&15, & 11/21&22

Update 2009-11-21: In just 4 hours over 2 days, the Flatbush CommUNITY Garden diverted 1,740 lbs of leaves from landfill to compost which will enrich the Garden and more of Brooklyn’s urban farms and gardens. As Director of the Urban Gardens and Farms Initiative of Sustainable Flatbush, I want to thank everyone who participated, whether by planning, volunteering, or dropping off leaves.

Cherry Leaves, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, November 2008
Cherry Leaves

Until 2007, NYC collected and composted residential leaves. For the second year, 20,000 tons of leaves will be treated like household garbage, added to the City’s already-overburdened waste stream. Sign the petition to restore leaf composting to NYC.

Stepping into the void left by the City’s abandonment of leaf composting, more than a dozen Brooklyn community gardens, as well as gardens in other boroughs, have banded together in partnership with the GreenBridge Community Garden Alliance of Brooklyn Botanic Garden,  Council on the Environment of NYC, bk farmyards, Vokashi, and the Neighborhood Open Space Coalition,

Over the next three weekends, from 11am to 1pm, Brooklyn residents can bring leaves, free of trash, twigs and branches, in clear plastic or paper bags to one of the locations marked with a blue pin on this map. Not every garden is participating on all dates, so check the garden nearest you to see when you can drop-off in your neighborhood.

View larger map

Information will be available at many of the participating gardens about how to make compost in your own garden or apartment and about efforts to encourage the City to reinstate its municipal leaf collection and composting program.

The Flatbush CommUNITY Garden is participating on two dates: this Sunday, November 8, and Saturday, November 21. The drop-off will be at 1550 Albemarle Road, near Buckingham Road (East 16th Street). The Garden is a project of Sustainable Flatbush, part of the Urban Gardens & Farms initiative.

In 2008, a pilot project at 6/15 Green garden in Park Slope, Brooklyn, collected over a 1 1/2 tons of leaves, indicating a deep desire in the community to keep their residential leaves out of the overburdened wastestream and recycle them into rich “brown gold”. NYCLeaves expects to break that record by building a network of gardens that will offer to take in leaves in neighborhoods throughout the City. Bringing bagged leaves to a LeafDrop site will lighten the City’s load of trash, save the City the money it would spend collecting and getting rid of the leaves, and redirect this precious natural resource to its best use – as compost that will enrich the soil of vibrant, active community gardens or the City’s stressed and hungry street trees.

For more information about NYCLeaves: Project LeafDrop, its activities, how to register your garden for Project LeafDrop, a list of participating gardens and specific drop-off dates and times, contact them at their or by email:


Related Content

Brooklyn Leaf Composting Project, 2009-10-02
Final NYC Compost Giveback, 2009-09-30


BK Decay, NYC Leaves: Project LeafDrop

Leaf Composting This Sunday, November 8th, Sustainable Flatbush, 2009-11-07
NYCLeaves: Project LeafDrop Are Picking Up Where the City’s Leaving Off, Brooklyn Green Team, 2009-11-04
New Community Garden Coalition Takes Lead in Leaf Composting, GreenThumb NYC, 2009-10-27

bk farmyards
Council on the Environment of NYC
GreenBridge Community Garden Alliance, Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Neighborhood Open Space Coalition

Brooklyn Leaf Composting Project

A Brooklyn-wide effort to organize locally and restore leaf composting to Brooklyn! There’s a brainstorming meeting TOMORROW, Saturday, October 3, at Ozzie’s Cafe in Park Slope. See below for full details.

Please join your fellow community gardeners and our friends from the Brooklyn Botanic Garden for a brainstorming session that will focus on how we can expand and improve community leaf collection and recycling this fall.

As you know, the City will not be collecting leaves separately from regular trash, again, this fall. That means that it’s up to us to find ways to take this rich source of garden nutrients out of the wastestream and bring it into our gardens, where it will do the most good.

Building on a very successful leaf collection and recycling project that was implemented at 6/15 Green garden last year, we hope to coordinate a Brooklyn-wide project that will enable local community gardens to be collection points for bagged leaves from their neighbors for use in the community gardens….and possibly even distributed back to the community in the future.

This is truly a win/win for everyone. Gardens will benefit from the addition of wonderful leaves that they can use as mulch or make into “brown gold” compost and residents will be able to recycle their leaves knowing that they will not be wasted clogging up our landfills.

Please join us for our first planning meeting to get the ball rolling.

We’ll be brainstorming on the basic strategies of how we can work together, coordinate dates and collection methods, create a unified press release and outreach and the ways we can avoid duplication and confusion of efforts.

We really need your voice and your ideas right from the start!

Feel free to forward this information to any community gardens or other folks you think would like to be part of this project.

Date: Saturday, October 3, 2009
Time: 12:00 Noon
Ozzies’ Coffee
249 5th Ave.
Bet Carroll & Garfield
Brooklyn, NY 11215
(718) 768-6868

M. R to Union St

B63 along Fifth Ave
B37 & B103 along Third Avenue
B71 along Union St.

We’re looking forward to a lively discussion.


Related Content


Google Group

Worm Composting Workshop at Third Root, 1/24

Thar Be Worms!

Third Root Community Health Center, located at 380 Marlborough Road, just off Cortelyou Road and around the corner from the Q train, is hosting a worm composting workshop this Saturday, January 24, at 1:30pm:

Table to Garden Compost Workshop with Stella Fiore, Master Composter
$5-$10 per person

Learn how to transform your food scraps into compost, an all-natural fertilizer and soil remediation tool. You’ll divert your waste from the landfill and nourish house plants and outdoor vegetables. This workshop will focus on indoor vermicompost systems for city dwellers. Come learn about worms and their compost bins at this fun and informative demo and Q&A. Bring the kids!

Stella Fiore is a Master Composter with the NYC Compost Project. She has an outdoor bin system plus two worm bins in her Gowanus kitchen. Stella is also marketing director of and a freelance writer whose work has appeared in iVillage, DailyCandy and the Magazine of La Cucina Italiana. She is a member of the Park Slope Food Coop.


Community Workshop Change Jan 24 – Worm Composting, Loose Leaves (Third Root blog)

Final NYC Compost Giveback

The Fresh Kills Composting Site in Staten Island
Compost Pickup, Fresh Kills Composting Site, Staten Island

The very last ever, until something changes, NYC Compost Giveback takes place this weekend in the Bronx, and in two weeks in Staten Island. Since there’s no funding in the budget for fall leaf pickup, there will be no more leaves, and no more givebacks, after this.


Saturday & Sunday, OCTOBER 4 & 5, 8am to 2pm (rain or shine)
Soundview DSNY Composting Site (at the end of Randall Ave. close to the Bruckner

Saturday & Sunday, OCTOBER 18 & 19, 8am to 2pm (rain or shine)
Fresh Kills DSNY Composting Site (off West Service Rd. near exit 7 of Rt. 440)

NYC residents and community groups from any borough can get unlimited amounts of
free compost at these events. This high-quality, natural soil enhancer is made out
of leaves that DSNY collected from City residents and institutions.

At the Compost Givebacks, NYC residents can also purchase discounted compost bins
for $20 (subsidized by DSNY-BWPRR) to make their own compost.

Related Posts



Fall 2008 Compost Givebacks and Bin Sales
Sanitation Announces Plan to Collect Fallen Leaves [as garbage, not for composting], Press release, Department of Sanitation, New York City, 2008-09-22
NYC Compost Project

Tomorrow, May 31: Extra-Crunchy Brooklyn Compost Bike Tour

“Compost Happy”
Compost Happy

This just in. This is also listed in the Flatbush Gardener Google Calendar in the sidebar.

Bike Tour to Explore Brooklyn’s Composting Sites, Saturday May 31

Come one, come all to the Compost Tour de Brooklyn. It’s free, fun and good for you.
You’re welcome to meet at the market [Fort Greene Greenmarket], too, to see us off on this maiden (for maids and gents) two-wheeled journey of evolution (of carbon cycle) and revolution (of bike wheels).

Take a two-wheeled tour of Brooklyn compost sites on Saturday, May 31 and learn how to reduce household waste and convert food scraps into fodder for new plant life.

Licensed New York City sightseeing guide and newly minted Master Composter Laura Silver will don a worm costume to show off some of the “greatest local innovations in eco-consciousness” and the people who make it happen.

Brooklyn Compost Project table at Making Brooklyn Bloom 2008
Brooklyn Compost Project table at Making Brooklyn Bloom 2008

Tour goers will have a chance to meet local heroes who turn castoff food stuff into “black gold.” They’ll escort the vegicycle, a trike made to transport food scraps, from the Fort Greene market to local community gardens.

Detail of convection composting aeration tube used at a Brooklyn community composting site
Detail, Convection Composting Aeration Tube

Day: Saturday, May 31, 2008
Time: 10:30 am (until about 3pm, stay as long as you’d like)
Place: Meet at Fort Greene Park Greenmarket near trash cans used to collect food scraps. Corner of DeKalb Avenue and Cumberland Street

Tour stops include:

  • Composting toilet at Hollenback Garden in Clinton Hill
  • Compost piles at Bed-Stuy?s Greene Acres garden
  • A worm bin in a private home in Midwood
  • Tour concludes at Floyd Bennett Field Garden with a demonstration of lasagna (layered) gardening
  • Demonstration begins at 2pm. Barbeque to follow


  • Spots are limited. Please RSVP to by May 30.
  • Participation is free.
  • Helmets preferred.
  • Cyclists are requested to bring fruit or vegetable scraps to compost (apple cores, lettuce leaves and coffee grounds encouraged) and full-figured food to grill at the end of the tour.

Event, Brooklyn & Queens, 5/19 & 5/20: Compost Giveback

[Updated 18:15 EDT: Corrected dates!]

Compost This Way

The Brooklyn-Queens Compost Giveback continues this Saturday and Sunday, May 19&20 at the Spring Creek Composting site [Google Map]. Blog Widow John and I went last Saturday.

I was not allowed to take pictures at the event. Rumor on the ground was that the property is being examined for development. I took the one photo above before I was told photography was not allowed.

Fortunately, there’s Google and satellites. Check out the piles of compost!

Google Map of Spring Creek Composting Site

I armed us with two broad-faced shovels, a pitchfork, a plastic bushel-sized bin, and heavy-duty plastic contractor’s bags. We backed up to a rapidly dwindling yet still impressive long row of compost and had at it. The Queens Botanical Garden was on hand to provide advice and literature.

I also picked up two Garden Gourmet composters at $20 a pop. I put one of them together on Sunday. I’ve used Smith & Hawken BioStacks for many years. I’ll come back with a comparative review of the two designs later.

Garden Gourmet (left) and Biostack (right)
Comparison of Garden Gourmet (left) and Biostack (right)


Related posts:

Event, Brooklyn/Queens: Compost Giveback, May 12, 13, 18 and 19

Compost Demonstration Area at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Compost Demonstration Area

This Spring’s Compost Giveback for Brooklyn and Queens will be held at the Spring Creek Composting Site the second and third weekends of May: May 12 & 13, and May 18 & 19. NYC residents (no businesses) can take away as much compost as they can shovel and transport. They can also purchase compost bins for $20, which is a bargain.

You really need private transportation to take advantage. Bring your own shovels. Heavy-duty puncture-resistant garbage bags, such as contractor’s bags, are ideal. A wagon wouldn’t hurt, either.

The compost bins are high-quality, made from recycled plastic. They come folded flat for transport and snap together for assembly, no tools required. They have a compact footprint, but are big enough to get some heat into the heap. In the photo above, the taller, skinnier black plastic composter in the center of the photo is similar or identical to the discounted model.