NYC Company Composts Food Waste, Creates Fertilizer for Rooftop Gardens

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Rather than buying compost for rooftop gardens, The Durst Organization, Inc. creates its own from employee food waste.

Manhattan might not have the sprawling, open fields you’d typically think of when considering compost as garden fertilizer, but one New York City company is taking the idea straight to the top of the city’s skyline.

The Durst Organization, Inc., a real estate company whose properties include spots at the World Trade Center, Bryant Park and Times Square, has begun collecting compostable food waste from 11 of its Manhattan properties. The waste is transported upstate to be turned into compost, then returned to the city to fertilize rooftop gardens.

It’s all part of The Durst Organization’s green rooftop initiative, which will spend between $750,000 and $1 million to install over an acre of green rooftop space throughout its NYC properties, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The green rooftops are about more than just growing plants. The Durst Organization’s green spot also collect rain water. In 2012, the rooftops retained about 55,000 gallons of water that would have otherwise run down the drain and into sewer, the article says.

The roofs also provide an opportunity for learning. The company enlisted the help of students from Hell’s Kitchen’s High School for Environmental Studies to study the garden’s weeds, determining if they’re invasive or noninvasive species.