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Flatiron Tour perk: a visit with the Lower East Side Ecology Center

a person holding a sign

We are very excited to partner with the Lower East Side Ecology Center at the Union Square Greenmarket during our Flatiron Food, History & Architecture Tour!

The Lower East Side Ecology Center (LESEC) has a regular stall at the Union Square Greenmarket in NYC, where they offer a variety of environmentally-friendly services and products to the public. One of the main services that LESEC provides at their stall is electronic waste (e-waste) recycling. They accept a wide range of electronic devices, including computers, cell phones, printers, and other electronics. The e-waste is collected and transported to LESEC’s recycling facility in Brooklyn, where it is properly disposed of or recycled. LESEC also offers compost drop-off services at their stall. Visitors can bring their food scraps, plant debris, and other organic waste to be composted. This helps to divert organic waste from landfills and provides a valuable resource for the community gardens and urban farms in the area.

In addition to these services, LESEC also sells a variety of sustainable products at their stall. These include reusable shopping bags, water bottles, and other eco-friendly items. Visitors can also learn about LESEC’s educational programs, volunteer opportunities, and other environmental initiatives.

Overall, LESEC’s stall at the Union Square Greenmarket serves as a valuable resource for the community, providing a convenient and accessible way for people to recycle their e-waste and compost their organic waste. It also helps to raise awareness about the importance of environmental sustainability and promotes LESEC’s mission of creating a more sustainable and equitable world.


The Lower East Side Ecology Center (LESEC) was founded in 1987 in response to the growing concerns about the environmental degradation of the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Since its inception, the organization has been dedicated to the promotion of sustainability, recycling, and waste reduction through community education, environmental advocacy, and hands-on environmental initiatives.

The Lower East Side, historically known as a working-class immigrant neighborhood, had undergone significant changes since the 1960s. Urban renewal projects and the construction of large public housing developments had disrupted the traditional fabric of the community. The area became a dumping ground for the city’s waste and was plagued by poor air quality, pollution, and environmental hazards.

In the late 1980s, a group of Lower East Side residents came together to address these issues and formed the Lower East Side Ecology Center. The organization’s initial focus was on the clean-up of local community gardens, which had been used as illegal dumping sites. The group also worked to establish recycling programs in the neighborhood.

Over time, the organization expanded its scope and started to offer educational programs, workshops, and community events on a wide range of environmental topics, including composting, gardening, and sustainable living. LESEC’s programs and initiatives have been instrumental in promoting environmental awareness and sustainability in the Lower East Side and beyond.

One of the organization’s most notable achievements was the establishment of the E-Waste Recycling Program in 2003. This program, the first of its kind in New York City, provides a safe and environmentally responsible way to dispose of electronic waste. Since its inception, the program has collected over 6 million pounds of electronic waste, diverting it from landfills and preventing toxic materials from entering the environment.

LESEC has also been a leading advocate for waste reduction and sustainability policies in New York City. The organization has played a critical role in the passage of important environmental legislation, such as the City’s plastic bag ban and composting laws.

In addition to its community programs, LESEC has also been involved in several large-scale environmental initiatives. The organization was a partner in the development of the East River Park Resiliency Project, a project aimed at protecting Lower East Side communities from the effects of climate change. LESEC also played a key role in the development of the Manhattan Solid Waste Management Plan, which aimed to reduce the city’s waste disposal costs and improve recycling rates.

The Lower East Side Ecology Center’s impact on the community and the environment has been significant. The organization has helped to transform the Lower East Side into a more sustainable and environmentally responsible neighborhood. Its programs and initiatives have served as a model for other communities across the country.

The organization’s success can be attributed to its dedicated staff, volunteers, and community supporters. Their commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainability has helped to create a more resilient and vibrant Lower East Side community. The Lower East Side Ecology Center’s legacy will continue to inspire and guide future generations in their efforts to build a more sustainable and equitable world.