Dead leaves and fallen branches are a rich resource for our City’s green spaces. Through two processes called composting and mulching, we can reuse this organic litter and minimize the amount of material we deposit into the trash. Fallen leaves, shrubbery clippings and plants can naturally decompose into compost?a nutrient-rich, dark, crumbly material that helps improve soil health and provides essential nutrients to plants. Fallen tree limbs and branches can be chipped and turned into mulch—a wooded material that helps conserve soil moisture and moderate soil temperature.
Parks and its nonprofit partners throughout the City make use of these extremely valuable natural resources. For example, at Central Park, the Central Park Conservancy turns 3,000 cubic yards of leaves into compost and 5,000 cubic yards of tree waste into mulch each year at its Compost Mount in the north section of the park. Parks’ very own GreenApple Corps partners with the NYC Compost Project to teach composting classes and set up compost systems for community-based organizations throughout the City. The GreenApple Corps also collects organic waste from several soup kitchens and turns it into compost at its Field House in Seward Park. And each January, NYC Parks plays host to MulchFest, a citywide event where New Yorkers in all five boroughs bring their holiday trees to local parks to be recycled into mulch.
There are a number of ways that you, too, can compost in your home, local park, or community garden.
- Learn about composting in New York City in general.
- Take a composting workshop offered by the NYC Compost Project (select "organic waste" in Browse Events on the NYCWasteless Calendar
- Download compost educational materials from NYCWasteLess.
- Find out more about community composting sites in New York City.
- Visit Parks' Upcoming Events calendar and enter “compost” into the Keyword or Phrase search box.
- And make sure to bring your tree to your local park next January for the new year's MulchFest!
“Island's Leaf Removal Efforts No Small Task,” 11/26/2010, NY1