BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — Your leftover food scraps could help green up community gardens and give back to the neighborhood.
BK Rot, a Bushwick-based compost collection service that employs local youth, is expanding its business to Bedford-Stuyvesant.
Members pay $15 a month for the compost pick-up. Proceeds are used to pay young adults aged 17 to 24 who bike door-to-door each week to take the food scraps to a nearby garden for processing.
Participants are also able to access compost for house plants or gardens at no additional cost.
“The fees that they pay are going directly to supporting a wave of local youth to do this work. It helps them take ownership and leadership in the development of a pretty impactful project and the development of green space,” said Sandy Nurse, 32, founder of BK Rot.
Composting is “one of the most important, critical practices” communities can get involved in to help fight climate change, Nurse added.
Scraps from food preparation, newspaper clippings, tea bags, egg shells, pasta and other items — with the exception of meat and dairy — can be composted, she said.
Nurse started BK Rot in 2013 due to a lack of composting sites in Bushwick and Ridgewood, as well as a need for engagement around environmental work for youth in the neighborhood.
The business also employs high school students from around the borough who have an interest in gardening and farming.
Through the service, members receive a bucket and compostable bags for their scraps, along with coupons from partner organizations. Each Sunday, participants leave their bags outside their homes to be picked up by employees.
During the week, bikers collect from cafes and restaurants and BK Rot processes almost 6,000 pounds of compost a month, Nurse said.
The organization expanded to Bed-Stuy this season after the city rolled out its own pilot composting program in Ridgewood, where BK Rot had been servicing residents and lost customers.
“Bed-Stuy has a big community of people who have been caring for open garden space and farmer’s markets for a very long time and who are familiar with the process [of composting],” Nurse said.
As the city expands its free Organics Collection pilot program, which Nurse lauded as a “much-needed service,” BK Rot looks to transition from collecting from households to gathering scraps from businesses.
“Our compost is serving Brooklyn and we’re trying to show that different models are possible if the community gets behind it,” she said.
“It’s a double win. You’re supporting local youth and the local ecosystem.”