Common Ground Compost

Common Ground Compost

Photo: Courtesy of @commongroundcompost

There are a lot of rules when it comes to recycling/composting, and many are daunted by the prospect of doing all of it properly. Fortunately, Common Ground Compost is making it easier for urbanites to mindfully dispose of all their waste.

Founded in 2014 by Laura Rosenshine, the waste management group has a “passion for what happens after the plate,” and works with the NYC community to set up more sustainable disposal systems—especially when it comes to composting.

Composting entails recycling organic materials like food scraps and making sure they decompose properly. With the help of nitrogen and carbon in a controlled environment, the scraps turn into a nutritious dirt-like material that can be used to enrich soil for plants. And though it may seem like an extra arduous task, composting actually comes with plenty of benefits. Placing food waste in a sealed, airtight container creates less odor and attracts less pests than plastic trash bags sitting on the street. Getting food waste out of our garbage cans means that less material will unnecessarily end up in landfills. Composted dirt also makes plants more resistant to diseases.

Businesses that compost also tend to have smaller waste bills since the heaviest components of trash that gets hauled away is food-based. Common Ground helps businesses find even more reasons to dispose of their waste properly via waste recycling audits and analyses. From there, they can set up a recycling program tailored to their specific needs.

And their resources don’t just benefit businesses. They also offer zero-waste event planning, including custom signage, compostable products, and waste/recycle station rentals to set up on site. Once the festivities are over, they’ll even coordinate with a waste hauler to take everything away. They also offer composting programs for students of varying grade levels, and is testing out other small-scale community ventures to improve their composting capacity. 

New York is currently working on its recycling problem with ambitious diversion plans as well as pilot programs to help residents properly dispose of their compost. And while there are several pick-up programs in the city, many aren’t available for residential, smaller-scale composting jobs—this is where community composting comes in. There are over 200 community compost sites around the five boroughs, ranging from community gardens to fully-functioning farms. Residents can dump their saved organic materials there, where they’ll decompose and be used to enrich the soil for plants to grow. Common Ground has a map of these drop-off sites on their website, as well as their own bike-powered micro-hauling program via Reclaimed Organics. They also have their own composting site next to East Side Community High School on East 11th.  

Though the site is currently out of commission because of a fire in an adjacent building, Common Ground is working on recovering the site in partnership with East Side Outside Community Garden and the East Side Community High School, and hopes to start producing compost at the Garden again very soon. They’re also looking for candidates to join their team and make the city more compost-friendly.

More about them can be found on their website.

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