Whenever I have a question of, "can I compost this?" There's usually two people I turn to, one of whom is Laura Rosenshine, founder of Common Ground Compost. I was curious to know whether those compostable cups, plates and cutlery that I'm seeing in more earth-conscious restaurants, are in fact compostable in NYC, especially since they aren't accepted by our GrowNYC compost drop-offs. Here's what she says::
Compostable serviceware can be tricky because not all compost sites can process the material. Some facilities choose not to, whereas others don't because their type of compost processing prohibits it.
But there are many different composting systems, so knowing where your compost is going and what material that system can accept is really important and will dictate what can be sent to the compost facility. The challenge is that each hauler has their own relationships with the compost sites so there is no consistency. As far as Common Ground Compost knows, as of early 2017 there is only one commercial hauler that has a relationship with a compost site that can process this material, and they only go there when they know they have this type of material to process.
For residential compostable serviceware, Earth Matter, a non profit organization on Governors Island can also process compostable serviceware. Earth Matter primarily processes material collected at GrowNYC Green Markets and waste generated on the island, encouraging island vendors to purchase compostable serviceware since they are working towards being a Zero Waste Island.