A Waste-Free Astoria? Closer Than You Think!

Image/Nicole Grossberg

It’s no secret: the trash problem across the city is growing. With many home from work, outdoor dining at an all-time high, and schools out, NYC’s trash problem is at an all-time high. Combine that with a 60% cut to the Department of Sanitation’s budget, and we have a crisis on our hands. Just how much of a hit did the DSNY’s budget take? An astounding $106 million, to be exact.

Fortunately, Astorians care. They care about their neighborhood and keeping it clean, open, and accessible to all. Nicole Grossberg, an Astoria resident and native New Yorker, turned this idea into action and launched the Zero Waste NYC Workshop in August 2019. Zero Waste NYC is in partnership with Sanitation Foundation, the official non-profit for DSNY, and holds monthly educational workshops in order to make a zero waste lifestyle more accessible. Grossberg believes that each individual has the ability to make small, simple changes on a daily basis that can ultimately make a huge difference on the planet’s overall health and survival.

“At our workshops, we talk about activism, community involvement, lifestyle changes, and all different topics around zero waste. Essentially, zero waste is lowering your impact on the planet, not producing excessive amounts of waste and cutting down on single-use items”, said Grossberg. Given the current state of affairs in NYC, single-use items that are harmful to the environment such as takeout containers, masks, and gloves can be found scattered throughout many streets around the city.

Staying true to the mission of reducing single-use items in her community, Grossberg also works with DeliverZero, a NYC-based startup that aims to partner with restaurants to incorporate reusable containers into their food delivery services. To date, DeliverZero has been highlighted by the likes of NBC, Fox5, and more. Each year, approximately 1 billion takeout containers sit in landfills a short distance from NYC, posing a major threat to the environment. DeliverZero allows customers to return the containers to the delivery person the next time they receive a food delivery, or drop them off at the original restaurant. To make things easier, customers have up to 6 weeks to return the containers. The containers are then washed and sanitized, and can be used for additional deliveries in the future.

Currently, DeliverZero is looking to partner with Astoria restaurants who may be interested in utilizing reusable containers. The initiative has taken off in Brooklyn, and is looking to expand its environmentally-friendly efforts to the borough of Queens.

“Astoria is such a beautiful community; it’s so diverse and has such a great culture and food scene which makes it a desirable area within NYC. I’ve loved living here for the last six years, and I want our neighborhood to be clean so we can continue to thrive and flourish. I want our neighborhood to continue to be a destination that people want to come to”, shared Grossberg.

Give Me Astoria would like to thank Nicole Grossberg for taking the time to speak with us, and for her continued efforts to keep our community clean! For more information on Zero Waste NYC, you may reach out via email to [email protected] in addition to visiting Zero Waste NYC’s official website and Instagram page. You may also view its upcoming monthly event schedule here. For additional information on DeliverZero, please visit its official website and Instagram, and reach out to Nicole Grossberg here if you know of any Astoria restaurants that are interested in partnering alongside this wonderful initiative!