NEW YORK (WWTI) – New York State is adopting new regulations to improve food waste recycling and prevent food waste.
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos on Wednesday announced final regulations to implement state food donation and recycling law food waste, which is expected to come into effect next year. This is the latest statewide effort to reduce food insecurity in communities.
According to Commissioner Seggos, the new regulations oblige large producers of leftover food to donate as much “healthy” food as possible. This will increase the amount and variety of food available through relief organizations across New York City.
Food waste generators, as defined by the DEC, are an entity that annually generates on average two or more tonnes of food waste per week, at one location. These entities may include supermarkets, catering businesses such as restaurants, higher education institutions, hotels, food processors, correctional facilities, and sports or entertainment venues.
“Americans currently waste about a quarter of all food purchased, which directly leads to the creation of methane and other greenhouse gases and negative impacts on the environment,” Commissioner Seggos said in a statement. Press release. “These wasted food resources can now be used to help those in need instead of contributing to climate change. The regulations released today are a perfect example of a sensible approach to promoting food recycling while helping the hungry and reducing waste to build healthier and more environmentally sustainable communities.
Specifically, the new regulations will require all food waste producers to donate excess edible food and send the food waste to an organics recycler, if one exists within a 40 km radius. The law also requires producers to recycle food waste by using organic material recyclers to reduce the amount of organic waste in landfills. Organic recyclers can include composting facilities known to produce beneficial organic soil conditioners that are needed to improve the quality of poor soils.
DEC also detailed new requirements for donating excess food and recycling leftover food if an organic production facility is available. Producers of food waste will also be required to report annually to the state.
However, the regulations also include a temporary override provision for producers who demonstrate the need to be excluded from a certain requirement. This includes a lack of food waste haulers within the 25 mile radius.
The DEC said wasted food has significant environmental, social and economic impacts. The Climate Action Council’s Waste Expert Panel lists the disposal of organic waste from landfills as a key recommendation to meet the goals of New York’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. This aims to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and make New York carbon neutral by 2050.
The final regulations are available on the DEC website.
The law on food donation and food waste recycling was enacted in 2019. The law will come into force on January 1, 2022.