ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — On Wednesday, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation announced a milestone in work with Feeding New York State, an organization made up of New York’s 10 Feeding America food banks. The organizations have hit the 1 million pound mark in collecting food to be donated to hungry communities around New York, in work started by the state Food Donation and Food Scraps Recycling Law.

A goal of the law is to increase the amount of sustainable food management in New York State food streams, especially targeting large businesses that generate food waste. A new agreement between the DEC and the Center for EcoTechnology will help those goals along. CET will help fund a three-year effort to help communities up the amount of recycling they operate.

“DEC’s food waste recycling efforts are making a difference both in the lives of those in need and in the ongoing fight against climate change,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “Governor Kathy Hochul’s ongoing support of this and other initiatives to help ensure families have access to quality food complements DEC’s work to reduce greenhouse gases from landfilled waste and achieve the State’s ambitious climate goals. I congratulate Feeding New York State, our food scrap providers, and all our partners for helping meet our goals and strengthen communities.”

Feeding New York Director Dan Egan says that New York disposes of as much as 40% of food generated by farms and large companies. Meanwhile, statistics show as many as three million New York residents live in active fear of not having enough to eat.

“Our hungry neighbors live in every part of the state. Hunger in the midst of plenty is unjust. It is economically unsound. It is environmentally absurd,” Egan said.

Feeding New York State has been receiving funding to start taking in more food donations from large food businesses since 2021, using money from the Environmental Protection Fund. One of the CET program’s goals syncs up with that work by creating more scraps and recycling programs, and more markets for waste that can’t go to feed communities.