Orange bins are popping up all over the streets of Brooklyn. These bins are smart, solar-powered compost bins sporting the signature color of the NYC Department of Sanitation’s composting programs. These bins are part of a citywide effort to manage trash, reduce the amount of organic materials going to landfill, and decrease the rat population.

Opening of the orange smart compost bins in NYC

These brightly colored composting bins debuted in 2021 in Lower Manhattan and Astoria, Queens. Brooklyn’s first bins appeared in Bed-Stuy earlier this month. Now, the bins have popped up in Crown Heights. The bin pictured is located on Franklin Avenue and was spotted by Untapped New York’s Founder, Michelle Young. You can also find them on Kingston Ave, Albany Ave, New York Ave, Rogers Ave, and other thoroughfares. The easiest way to find the closest available bin is to check the NYC Compost app.

Screenshot showing locations of orange smart compost bins in NYC

This smartphone app shows the location of every smart compost bin. It will also let you know if the bin is available or full. You’ll need the app in order to unlock a bin and dispose of your scraps. Once unlocked, you can get rid of organic materials such as fruits, vegetables, and eggshells, coffee, tea and nuts, dried flowers and houseplants and bread, grains, pasta. If you forget what can and can’t go in the bin, there is a helpful Composting FAQ page in the app that lists acceptable items with images. The bins are available 24/7.

Metal foot pedal on orange smart compost bin in NYC

The bins might look a bit familiar. They are made by Big Belly Solar, the same company that makes the solar-powered recycling and trash bins that were launched in Times Square in 2013. Like the trash and recycling bins, these compost bins feature a solar-powered compactor which helps the small bins hold a large amount of waste.

  • orange smart compost bin in NYC
  • Solar panel on top of the orange smart compost bins in NYC
  • QR on the side of an orange smart compost bin in NYC
  • QR on an orange smart compost bin in NYC

In addition to these new composting bins, many New York City residents can also take advantage of curbside composition and local composting drop-off sites. Mayor Adams announced in August 2022 that a total of 250 compost bins will be installed throughout the five boroughs. Update: On Thursday, January 26th, the mayor is expected to announce an expansion of the city’s composting program at his State of the City at the Queens Theater in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. The new initiative aims to bring curbside composting to all five boroughs within a 20-month timeline. After the program was paused in Queens, service is projected to resume in that borough on March 27. Curbside composting will then launch in Brooklyn on Oct. 2, in the Bronx and Staten Island on March 25, 2024, and finally launch in Manhattan on Oct. 7, 2024, according to the New York Times.

Next, check out, Inside Roosevelt Island’s Futuristic Pneumatic Trash System and There’s a Trash Gallery in this Sanitation Garage