DEC announces $500K to improve food scrap recycling, prevent food waste

New York News

FILE – In this Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020 file photo, students discard food at the end of their lunch period as part of a lunch waste composting program at an elementary school in Connecticut. A United Nations report released on Thursday, March 4, 2021 estimates 17% of the food produced globally each year is wasted. That amounts to 931 million tons of food, or about double what researchers believed was being wasted a decade ago. And most of the waste — or 61% — happens in households, while food service accounts for 26% and retailers account for 13%. (Dave Zajac/Record-Journal via AP)

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is adding $500,000 to help reduce food waste and combat food insecurity statewide. These funds, now totaling $2 million, support the Food Donation and Food Scraps Recycling Act, which goes into effect in January 2022.

It is part of a statewide effort to increase food donations to New Yorkers and encourage food recycling to help prevent the landfilling of food scraps.

In January, DEC proposed new draft regulations to strengthen the Food Donation and Food Scraps Recycling Act. These regulations create requirements for all designated food scrap generators to donate excess edible food and send food scraps to an organics recycler if one is available with 25 miles of the generator. The increased food donations will help New Yorkers and create jobs to help organizations that handle food donations. The act also requires generators to recycle food scraps by using organic recyclers, such as composting.

“This significant boost in funding comes at a critical time when many New Yorkers are struggling with food insecurity during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” Commissioner Seggos said. “In addition to helping to address hunger in our communities, reducing food waste benefits the environment by creating useful compost and decreasing the amount of materials that would otherwise be sent to the landfill, eventually creating methane gas that contributes to climate change.”

Feeding New York State Executive Director Dan Egan said, “Feeding New York State and our 10 member food banks are grateful to DEC for this grant, which gives us the tools we need to educate food waste generators on their waste-reduction obligations and connect potential donors to the charitable food network.”

Comments on the draft regulations will be accepted until April 27 and can be submitted by email to (be sure to 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

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