ReuseNYC: Reusable Materials Rejuvenate Urban Gardens

From the ReuseNYC front page and article archive, supporting reuse-focused organizations and events in New York City:

Reusable Materials Rejuvenate Urban Gardens

July 16, 2013

by Margaret Dunham

(NEW YORK, NY) Any patch of greenery in New York City is a treasure for the community. Parks, tree lawns, and urban gardens can be sanctuaries for wildlife and plants while providing welcome relief to city dwellers in a landscape of cement and asphalt. This time of year it’s easy to see some of Build It Green!NYC’s projects in action, especially their BIG!Compost and BIG!Blooms initiatives.

BIG!Blooms is all about building gardens in the city; specifically, the program focuses on distributing retired scaffolding lumber to groups building raised garden beds. Fertile, unused space to garden in is rare in NYC, and a raised bed can be built almost anywhere. All you need to get started are lumber for the framework and willing hands to set it up! This project helps convert construction waste into direct support for community and school gardens.

Scaffolding lumber used in construction is normally retired and sent to a landfill, a chipping facility, or to an incinerator when it is no longer needed. Build It Green!NYC saw raised bed gardening as an opportunity to divert wood from the waste stream and provide free materials to local gardens. Build It Green!NYC has supported gardens all over the city with the BIG!Blooms Program.

To find out more about the project, donate lumber or get in touch for supplies to build your own garden, click here.

BIG!Compost grew out of the volunteer-led Western Queens Compost Initiative, which was founded in late 2009. They have been collecting food scraps from NYC residents since then. Here’s what the folks at Build It Green!NYC have to say about expanding into composting beyond their core salvage and reclamation projects:

“We believe this program is strongly connected to BIG’s mission of keeping materials out of the landfill and providing them to the public to help build a stronger, healthier, and greener NYC. In the case of compost, we take in food scraps, transform them into compost, and then distribute that compost to community greening initiatives.” – Louise Bruce – Project Manager NYC Compost Project, Western Queens Compost Initiative

The compostable materials are processed locally at one of their composting sites. To find out more about BIG!Compost, click here.

Image credit: The garden photo above was taken at the Roger That Community Garden, which has benefited from the support of Build It Green!NYC’s programs. For more pictures and information, click here.