May 12, 2021 By Ryan Songalia
Food and yard waste drop-off service will return to Forest Hills on Sundays, thanks to the volunteer work of a number of local organizations.
A new drop-off site will be located at MacDonald Park, adjacent to the Greenmarket on 70th Avenue and Queens Boulevard. Operating hours will be between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Sundays.
The need for a drop-off site was prompted by curbside compost pick-ups being halted by the city last May due to budget cuts related to the pandemic.
The city slashed $106 million from its sanitation budget last year, including $28 million allocated for compost collection services. The city is expected to restart the service, with collections to resume by October.
For the Forest Hills Green Team, a local volunteer group focused on environmental issues, the wait is too long.
That’s why the group has teamed up with the Queens Botanical Gardens and Friends of MacDonald Park to open the site.
Under the new program, the waste bins will be picked up each Sunday afternoon by representatives from Queens Botanical Garden, which will then process the waste into compost. The compost will then be returned to MacDonald Park and distributed to the public on a first come, first serve basis, according to Mark Laster, the chair of Forest Hills Green Team Chair.
A tent will be set up each Sunday for the waste drop-off site, with a second table set up where educational information on the importance of composting will be available. There will also be voter registration material, as well as information on the congressional redistricting process, Laster said.
Composting is an environmentally conscious way of disposing organic waste. Less waste in landfills means fewer methane emissions, a cause of climate change. The finished compost is used to enrich soil for gardens and crops, which reduces the need for chemical fertilizers.
Queens Botanical Garden works with a number of compost pick-up sites around the borough, including King Manor Museum, Garden of Resilience, Paradise Garden, GallopNYC, St. Anastasia Roman Catholic Church, Jackson Heights Greenmarket, and Kew Gardens CSA.
Items that will be accepted for composting include fruit and vegetable scraps, non-greasy food scraps like rice, pasta and bread, coffee grounds and filters, tea bags, egg and nut shells, plus house plants and potting soil.
Meat, fish, bones, dairy products and animal waste will not be accepted, according to the Queens Botanical Garden website.