BBG’s Guide to Composting

Composting is nature's way of recycling. When a leaf falls to the ground, it is eaten and digested by micro-organisms such as bacteria and fungi, and by larger creatures, such as beetles and earthworms. Compost is the remains these organisms leave behind: a dark, crumbly material that looks and feels like potting soil. Through composting, organic waste is broken down and the nutrients it contains are returned to the soil, where they can be absorbed by plant roots to help form new leaves. Compost is also an excellent soil conditioner—it helps soils hold water, air pockets, and the minerals and nutrients that are essential to plants.

NYC Compost Project

The NYC Compost Project hosted by Brooklyn Botanic Garden is part of a citywide program created by NYC Department of Sanitation’s Bureau of Waste Prevention, Reuse and Recycling that offers composting workshops and provides technical assistance to community gardens, schools, and other organizations.

For more information, contact or the Compost Hotline at 718‑623‑7290.

Learn About Composting

The average New York City household throws away two pounds of organic waste each day: vegetable cuttings, fruit peels, eggshells, coffee grounds, and yard trimmings that could instead be composted. When we discard organic waste, we not only lose precious landfill space, we also miss out on a valuable resource that can help beautify parks, gardens, and lawns.

Additional Compost Resources

Home Compost Exhibit

During your visit to Brooklyn Botanic Garden, come see how to compost at the Home Composting Exhibit located near the Children's Garden. The display includes a variety of compost bins, material in different stages of decomposition, and signs to explain the process.

Community Workshops

Contact NYC Compost Project hosted by Brooklyn Botanic Garden staff at if you would like us to come to your Brooklyn community garden, neighborhood association, apartment building/board meeting, or civic group to present workshops for 10 persons or more.

Master Composter Certification

Compost enthusiasts and advocates have the opportunity each spring to take the Master Composter certificate course with the NYC Compost Project. This course requires 18–23 hours of classroom instruction, two field trips, plus 30 community service hours helping to advance on-site composting in NYC. Apply for the program online.

Equipment and Worms

The NYC Compost Project also offers compost bins at the reduced price of $65 and Compost Cranks at $42 to NYC residents. "Wormshop" participants will be able to purchase a Worm Condo, including a pound of worms, at cost for $44. See more worm suppliers.

Compost Hotline

For more information on the NYC Compost Project hosted by Brooklyn Botanic Garden, email or call the Compost Hotline at 718-623-7290.

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