Regulation Update: Announcement on NYC’s Commercial Food Waste Law


Update July 2 – Announcement released today.  Key points: 

Mandatory recycling of organic material proposed for 350 businesses including:

  • All food service establishments in hotels with 150 or more rooms
  • All food service 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
  • Food wholesalers with a floor area of at least 20,000 square feet

The first wave of the proposed designation will NOT include restaurants, grocery stores, fast food establishments, or caterers.

Businesses covered by this proposal would be given the option to arrange for collection by a private carter, transport organic waste themselves, or compost on-site in an in-vessel composting or aerobic or anaerobic digestion system, subject to compliance with the City’s sewer discharge regulations.

The proposed rules will be subject to a public hearing and comment period and would take effect six months after they are adopted. From that point, there will be a six-month grace period before any fines can be imposed.

IMG_4797New York, NY, July 1— This month (July 2015), we will find out exactly how the commercial food waste law in NYC will play out, including which large food service establishments will be required to recycle their food waste.

The law could potentially affect arenas, catering establishments, hotels, food manufacturers, food wholesalers, food retail establishments, and food service establishments that are large or part of a chain.

NYC currently has a capacity issue since the city’s primary facility for processing organic waste (located in Delaware) closed in December.  This may soon change, as sanitation spokesman Vito Turso told Capital New York:

“Within 100 miles of the city, DSNY identified between 100,000 and 125,000 tons per year of mostly privately owned and operated processing capacity… DSNY has also identified between five and 10 additional processing facilities within 100 miles of the city that are currently under development, including at least one facility that is scheduled to open in the next year and accept up to 100,000 tons of organic waste per year.”

Exploring Solutions

To get ready for the law, Great Forest has been exploring options that would work for NYC businesses that have little or no space to store organic waste, and where separate organics pick-ups are not feasible.

One of the solutions we are testing uses Blue/Green bags from a company called Organix Solutions. Read more.

Related:  A Guide to Composting For Businesses and Organizations

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