Reclaimed Organics: Reducing Food Waste in NYC

by Gabrielle Khalife
Part of the Food Policy Community Spotlight Series

Name: Reclaimed Organics

What they do: Reclaimed Organics is a compost collection service for residents and small businesses in lower Manhattan, with a regular hauling route between Tribeca and 45th Street. The bicycle haulers bring food scraps to local community gardens for local composting, or for consolidation and processing outside the city. By providing convenient pickup by bicycle, Reclaimed Organics provides a green alternative to food waste pickup and further reduces the impact that trucking trash normally has on our local community and greater environment.

Reclaimed Organics was started in the East Village by neighborhood members committed to sustainability at home and in the community. The program was founded on the knowledge that properly addressing our organic waste stream is a fundamental piece of creating sustainable urban communities. In fact, over 30 percent of residential trash is organic and can be recycled.

How they do it: Participants place food scraps from cooking or leftovers in a container, separate from the trash. The food scraps travel by bike to a community garden in the East Village to be combined into a compost pile with leaves and rotated regularly by garden volunteers. After a few weeks, the food scraps naturally decompose into nutrient-rich compost, which is then mixed with soil. The mixture is used in local greening projects throughout the East Village.

Mission: To close the food loop by bringing food scraps back into the soil as compost for local community gardens

Latest project/campaign: Free collection of food scraps from East Village businesses to celebrate International Compost Awareness Week in May 2017.

Major Funding: Operating funds come from Common Ground Compost (Reclaimed Organics’ parent company)

Profit/nonprofit: FOR PROFIT LLC

Annual Budget: $40,000

Interesting fact about how it is working to positively affect the food system: Reclaimed Organics collects meat and dairy from its clients, because they use the bokashi method of composting, a two-stage process that starts with fermentation.

FACT SHEET:

Location:

415 E 11th Street

New York, NY 10009

Core Programs:

-Organics recycling

-Bicycle-powered compost collection service for commercial businesses, schools, nonprofits and residents

-Compost drop-off for residents (East Village only)

-Supporting community garden and greening projects

Number of staff: 3

Number of volunteers: 0

Areas served: Manhattan, below 57th St

Year Started: 2015

CEO: Laura Rosenshine

Contact Information: [email protected]

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