McCarren Park


"zero waste"

A Zero Waste Plan is a design principle that goes beyond recycling to focus first on reducing wastes and reusing products and then recycling and composting the rest.

When researching zero The City of San Jose website stated that Zero waste is a perception change. It requires rethinking what we have traditionally regarded as garbage and treating all materials as valued resources instead of items to discard. Zero waste entails shifting consumption patterns, more carefully managing purchases, and maximizing the reuse of materials at the end of their useful life.

Zero Waste: (source:

  • redesigns the current, one-way industrial system into a circular system modeled on Nature's successful strategies
  • challenges badly designed business systems that "use too many resources to make too few people more productive"
  • addresses, through job creation and civic participation, increasing wastage of human resources and erosion of democracy
  • helps communities achieve a local economy that operates efficiently, sustains good jobs, and provides a measure of self-sufficiency.
  • aims to eliminate rather than manage waste

 For more: Zero Waste Articles

The Citizens Plan for Zero Waste in New York City:   REACHING FOR ZERO

 Zero Waste Strategies for McCarren Park: 

 Composting: McCarren Park: The North Brooklyn Compost Project


Leaf Litter:

The collection and use of leaf litter in McCarren Park could be vastly improved.  One problem with the current system is the site.  Due to its location it is necessary for the collection truck to drive over the park lawn in order to collect and dump the leaf litter.  This effectively destroys the grass in the area creating more work for the lawn maintence crews.  Another inefficient part of the leaf litter collection at McCarren Park is that it is trucked and mulched off-site.  In order to reduce energy consumption and avoid the unnecessary trucking of leaves out of the park and mulch back in, we call for all leaves to be composted on site.  A possible location for leaf composting could be on Union Ave between Driggs Avenue and N12th Street.  It is believed that this block will be soon closed off, as a roadway, which would open up more public park space.  A portion of this space could then be provided as a leaf composting site and as a added bonus park vehicles could use the existing pavement to drive on while collecting and storing leaves for composting.

 Leaf Litter- Why compost leaves:

The leaves of one large shade tree can be worth as much as $50 of plant food and humus. Pound for pound, the leaves of most trees contain twice as many minerals as manure. For example, the mineral content of a sugar maple leaf is over five percent, while even common pine needles have 2.5 percent of their weight in calcium, magnesium, nitrogen and phosphorus, plus other trace elements.

 To read more go to: Compost Guide

A current leaf litter composting program being carried out: NYCleaves

NYCLeaves is a volunteer-run, neighborhood-based coalition of gardeners and greening partners who are harvesting residential leaves for compost this fall.


For more information for Greenpoint and Williamsburg residents interested in composting their  residential leaves visit:


Bring back: DSNY COMPOSTING SITES for leaves

Previously, all leaves collected by DSNY during its Fall Leaf Composting Collection Program were taken to one of two DSNY yard waste composting sites, both operated by a private contractor:

 Fresh Kills, a 20-acre site constructed in 1998 at the entrance to the former landfill in Staten Island . Soundview, a 10-acre site constructed in 1999 in an inactive section of Soundview Park in the Bronx. At both sites, incoming leaves are placed into large rotating screens which break through the bags and separate nearly all of the resulting plastic shreds from the leaves. (This labor-intensive step will ultimately be eliminated once plastic bags are effectively banned for leaf composting collection.) The leaves are then placed in long piles known as “windrows” which are turned periodically with large front-end loaders. The rate of turning is adjusted as the leaves begin to degrade; within six to nine months they break down completely into rich, crumbly humus. As a final step, the compost is run through a finer screen to remove any remaining plastic bits and other inert materials. The compost is now ready to return to NYC residents at Compost Givebacks.

 Spring Creek: A third compost site was constructed by DSNY at Spring Creek Park, on the Brooklyn-Queens border. This 20-acre facility has not yet received an operating permit from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) and cannot be used for composting at this time. The Spring Creek and Soundview sites were both constructed under an innovative program developed jointly by DSNY and the Parks Department. Under a Memorandum of Understanding signed by the DSNY and Parks Commissioners in 1996, Parks agreed to designate undeveloped, marginal areas within its properties as composting sites for use by DSNY. In return, DSNY agreed to provide compost to Parks landscaping and environmental remediation programs. To date, thousands of tons of compost made from the City’s autumn leaves have been utilized to beautify public parks in all five boroughs.



Mulchfest is a NYC Parks run event in which members of the community a encouraged to bring their Christmas trees to the park for mulching.  At McCarren Park community members were then able to bring home their "mulched" or "chipped" tree to reuse in their gardens. 

The event is usually held at the beginning of January every year.

More information can be found at:


For more Recycling information and Green Markets: See McCarren Park Green Markets 











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