Launch of JHSCRAPS

Bring your food scraps & compost them to JHSCRAPS!

The latest effort to make Jackson Heights greener.
Saturday, September. 1
10am-2pm

Travers Park (78 Street between Northern Blvd. 34th Street)

We are the Jackson Heights Scrap Composting to Revitalize the Area’s Poor Soils (JH SCRAPS). Please join us Saturday September 1st to help start the latest effort to make Jackson Heights ever greener. We will be at Travers Park on 78th Street by 34th Avenue from 10am to 2pm to collect your food scraps and compost them at a site generously made available to us by the New York State Department of Transportation with the approval of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection. We would also like to thank the Jackson Heights Beautification Group and the Green Agenda for Jackson Heights for their help in getting this started.

Located under the BQE at 69th Street and 35th Avenue, JHSCRAPS is using a vacant space to compost food and leaves gathered in Jackson Heights, for Jackson Heights.  With the help of our partners at the Green Agenda and the JHBG , the compost produced will be used to enhance the soils in the tree pits around the neighborhood. We are committed to having the smallest carbon footprint possible and will be transporting the scraps collected by cart to our site.

We are sure many of you are already aware of the myriad of benefits that comes from composting but if not here are just a few of them. By composting, you are keeping organic material from entering our waste stream. Why is this important? Because our waste gets buried in an airless hole in the ground and that breakdown of organic material generates methane, a powerful greenhouse gas which according to the US EPA is “20 times more effective at trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide”. It also is not a pleasant smell that anyone who has lived on the west side of Staten Island prior to 2001 can attest.

Besides that, the waste has to be transported usually several hundred miles away and New York City has to pay a fee based on weight to have the waste deposited out of state. Organic material is typically heavier than other material (like paper or plastic) because of its high water content. So not only will you be reducing the weight of waste to be transported (less gas and trucks), you are also reducing the fee our city has to pay. Just as an aside, the amount budgeted for waste disposal in past years has sometimes been more than the amount the city budgeted for all community colleges in the CUNY system combined in the same year!

But why should you give us your compost?
It is because we will be specifically using that compost to help the street trees in our neighborhood. You can read more about the benefits of street trees here.

By enhancing the soil in the tree pits with compost, we are not only providing the trees with much needed nutrients but also enhancing the water retention properties of the soil. What that means is that the tree pits will be able to hold more water. This is important because it allows the trees access to more water (which during the summer is about 20 gallons a week) and it also helps reduce the amount of rain water that must enter the sewer system. Because of the developed nature of Jackson Heights, too much of the rain that falls in our neighborhood ends up in the sewers. And when that system gets too much rain to handle, the system automatically dumps the combination of rain water as well as output from our houses and apartments (showers, sinks and toilets) straight into the surrounding waterways. This can force the closure of some of the beaches we visit for a nice swim.

So we hope to see you this Saturday and every Saturday onwards. Be sure to tell your friends and if they have any questions, we will be more than happy to try to help them see how easy it is to keep the compost for a week and explain ways to keep it from stinking up the joint. As we get more activity, we will definitely be looking for volunteers to help us transport the compost and maintain the piles. If you have any questions, please feel free to email us at scraps4jh@gmail.com and one of our master composters will get back to you as soon as possible.