In 2011, Gowanus Canal Conservancy began composting on the Salt Lot. In 2017, thanks to funding from District 39 participatory budgeting, Gowanus Canal Conservancy worked with NYC Compost Project Hosted by Big Reuse to begin operating the largest community-based compost facility in Brooklyn. Using electric blowers to force air through the compost pile, the facility is capable of processing up to 150 tons of organic matter per year.

As of 2022, Gowanus Canal Conservancy relocated to a new site due to construction as part of the Superfund cleanup. NYC Compost Project hosted by Big Reuse continues to process food scraps and produce compost at the Salt Lot.

Food Scrap Drop-Offs

The food scrap drop-off is accessible 24/7! Simply place all of your household food scraps (no meat or dairy, please) into the toters located at the entrance of the Salt Lot, 2 Second Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11215. This organics drop-off is brought to you by NYC Compost Project hosted by Big Reuse, a partner of Gowanus Canal Conservancy.. They accept food waste from households only. No businesses or other commercial generators may drop off. Contact with any questions! 








Free Compost

Gowanus Canal Conservancy distributes free sifted compost at the Lowlands Nursery at the 9th Street Bridge, 25 9th Street, Brooklyn 11215. It is first come, first served with a limit of 1 bag per household, while supplies last. Pick-up dates are during our Nursery Open Hours — see our Nursery page for up-to-date hours.

Please note, compost is only distributed to public greening projects led by community groups, schools, or individuals; it cannot be given out for commercial or private residential use (as in backyards). Requests are approved based on availability.

Refer to this compost tip sheet to determine the amount of compost you need for your project. Remember that a little compost goes a long way!

If you need a bulk compost pick-up for your public greening project, reach out to with the quantity and type (screened/sifted or unscreened/mulchy). Please note that there may be an average delay of 3 weeks due to high demand.

Before You Pick-up:
The health and safety of our community is a priority. If any of the following conditions apply to you, stay home and DO NOT engage in stewardship activities outside the home:

– You are sick
– You are an older adult and/or have chronic health conditions, including chronic lung disease, heart disease, diabetes, cancer or a weakened immune system.

When You Pick-up:
– Do not gather in groups and keep at least six feet between you and others.

– Wear a face covering. People who do not show symptoms may still be able to spread COVID-19. A face covering prevents you from spreading COVID-19 to other people.

– Wash your hands often, including at the start and end of your volunteer opportunity. Use soap and water and scrub for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

– Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when sneezing or coughing. Do not use your hands.

– Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.

– Do not shake hands.

Only one person should come to the pick-up (if more than one person, everyone must be in the same household). Please come at the designated time on your ticket and follow the guidelines of NYC Department of Health for going outside, which includes practicing social distancing by maintaining a six feet distance from others and wearing a face covering.

Partners and Sponsors

NYC Compost Project Hosted by Big Reuse