NYC Aims to Reduce Food Waste Again: Bill Targets Composting for City's Food-Service Facilities

NYC Aims to Reduce Food Waste Again: Bill Targets Composting for City's Food-Service Facilities

As New York City plans to move toward zero-waste, a new proposal from Mayor Bill de Blasio would take a huge bite out of the city’s food waste issue.

Under the new regulation, restaurants in hotels with more than 150 rooms, vendors in arenas and stadiums with seating capacity of at least 15,000 people, food manufacturers with a floor area of at least 25,000 square feet, and wholesalers with at least 20,000 square feet, would be required to compost their organic food waste.

The mayor says his goal with the regulation is to achieve zero waste in landfills by 2030.

"The commercial establishments in today’s proposal are already recycling plastics and metals, and by additionally recycling organic material, they will significantly contribute to reducing our city’s waste stream," Mr. de Blasio said in a statement.

According to the proposal, businesses would take on the cost of compliance: They have the options to either work with private food waste collectors, compost on site (while meeting the city’s sewer use rules), or make their own arrangements for transporting the food waste to a composting facility. Failure to comply with the regulations would incur fines.

The city’s residential compost program is reportedly proving to be successful. According to Crain’s, “The city collected 6,700 tons of organic materials from participating residents and schools from October 2014 to April 2015, almost doubling the amount diverted from the waste stream since the program's start in October 2013.”

So far, approximately 100,000 city households—about 3 percent of city residents—participate, and plans to add another 33,000 households by year’s end is underway. The city expects 100 percent of New York City residents to be compliant by 2018.

The new regulations would not impact grocery stores and smaller restaurants and food service facilities.

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Food waste plate image via Shutterstock 

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