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NYS Food Donation and Food Scraps Recycling Law

Effective January 1, 2022, a NYS Food Donation and Food Scraps Recycling law will require businesses that generate an annual average of two tons of wasted food per week to:

  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.).

This is a timely and warranted proposal from the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC). Having an efficient and effective policy in place will finally allow Designated Food Scraps Generators (DFSG) to reallocate these precious food resources instead of disposing them.

80 billion pounds of food is thrown away each year in the US, while the nation still has serious issues pertaining to food insecurity for many families. It’s hard to believe.

For years, it was frowned upon (and not permitted) for restaurants, colleges, grocery stores, sports venues, malls, hotels, etc. to do anything with their food waste, other than dispose of it. The thought was that the food might possibly be contaminated or dated, but the reality is that so much of the unused food is edible or recyclable.

Now, any of these facilities that generate 2 tons of food waste a year (annually), must follow the guidelines of the law, once it is implemented.

At this time, the law doesn’t apply to:

  • New York City (which already has a local law in place requiring the diversion of food scraps from disposal)
  • Hospitals
  • Nursing Homes
  • Adult Care Facilities
  • K-12 Schools
  • Farms

The Proposed Part 350 rulemaking will implement the requirements outlined in the NYS Food Donation and Food Scraps Recycling law enacted in 2019.

Written public comments will be accepted by the NYSDEC through April 27, 2021.

Following is the anticipated implementation timeline:

DEC anticipates the following implementation timeline for the Food Donation and Food Scraps Recycling law. This timeline will be updated as the program and implementation process develops.

  • January 27 – April 27, 2021: Proposed Part 350 Public Comment Period
  • March 23, 2021: Webinar – Part 350 Workshop – registration opening soon
  • April 7, 2021 1:00 & 6:00pm: Virtual Public Hearings on Proposed Part 350
  • May 12, 2021: Webinar – Update on implementation of Food Donation & Food Scraps Recycling law – What’s Coming June 2021? – registration opening soon
  • June 1, 2021: DEC will publish list of designated food scraps generators (DFSG), waiver form for DFSG, annual report for DFSG, list of food scraps transporters and list of food scraps recyclers
  • June 1 – September 1, 2021: Initial waiver submission period for 2022
  • June 22, 2021: Webinar – Your Business is Required to Comply, Now What? – registration opening soon
  • Summer/Fall 2021: Regulations promulgated
  • January 1, 2022: Effective date of Food Donation and Food Scraps Recycling law

For additional information, visit the NYSDEC’s Food Donation and Food Scraps Recycling Law, pertaining to on-site recycling systems and off-site

Food Donation and Food Scraps Recycling Law Overview (PDF)

Lead image: Photo by NeONBRAND

Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is 'queenseyes' - Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside, Buffalo Porchfest, and Paint vs. Paint. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market on Elmwood. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at Statler City, the Hertel Alley Street Art Festival, and The Flutterby Festival.

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