Will NY’s Food Donation and Food Scraps Recycling Law Affect You?

Source: NYSDEC

In January 2022, the new Food Donation and Food Scraps Recycling law goes into effect. The law, which was passed in 2019, governs how organizations must dispose of or recycle organic (food scraps) waste. To implement the law, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) proposed adding a new 6 NYCRR Part 350.

According to the new law, businesses that generate an average of two tons or more of wasted food per week must:

  1. Donate excess edible food; and
  2. Recycle all remaining food scraps if they are within 25 miles of an organics recycler (composting facility, anaerobic digester, etc.)1

Why did the state pass this law?

Implementation of this law will allow the state to tackle a few issues at the same time.

First, there are many residents of NY who are faced with chronic food insecurity. Requiring organizations like restaurants, colleges, or malls to donate food that is edible will help combat hunger on a local level and provide communities in need with access to food that is nutritious and fresh.

Additionally, there is literally tons of edible food that is thrown away from places like restaurants, grocery stores, and other establishments. Forcing organizations to donate food rather than throw it out will reduce harmful methane gases that are produced by food that is decomposing in landfills. Thereby helping the environment in communities that are nearby.

Does this effect you or your establishment?

In addition to the criteria described above, if yours is a facility that manages solid waste like a waste transporter, transfer facility, combustion facility, or landfill, then this law applies to you.

It is not too late to get involved. If you want to submit comments to the state, follow the steps below:  

  • By email to FoodScrapsLaw@dec.ny.gov. Please include “Comments on Proposed Part 350” in the subject line of the email; or
  • By mail to ORRS–Part 350, NYSDEC, Division of Materials Management, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-7253

Comments will be accepted until April 27, 2021.

Public Comments Hearings

If you would prefer to make a comment at a public hearing, the state will host two webinars where participants can comment. Both sessions will be held on April 7, 2021. (One in the afternoon and one after work hours.) For more information and instructions for registering, go to: https://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/122245.html

Are there any exemptions?

If you live in a city with more than one million people that has enacted a local law with the same (or more rigorous) requirements as this, then you must follow that regulation.   

For example, New York City, already has legislation in place governing the handling of organic waste. In July 2020, the city amended the law to include more businesses that deal with the handling or preparation of food, and by extension, the disposal of food waste. (Even though the new rules in NYC went into effect last year, the Department of Sanitation of NY will not fine operators for non-compliance until the end of July 2021.) For more information about the requirements in NYC click here.

  1. Source:  https://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/114499.html
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