Businesses in New York that produce large amounts of food waste will now be required to sort their leftovers and donate edible items. The requirement was included in the state budget, passed early Monday. The measure is meant to help divert food from landfills and incinerators.
Any scraps that can’t be donated will have to be sent to an “organics recycler” for composting or other use. The new rule applies to businesses including, hotels, supermarkets, colleges, large restaurants, and correctional facilities that produce an annual average of at least 2 tons of food waste per week at a single location and are within 25 miles of a recycling facility. The regulation does not apply to businesses in New York City.
Hospitals, nursing homes and primary and secondary schools are exempt from the requirement, according to Newsday. Environmental advocates supported the measure as a way to reduce waste sent to landfills and cut down on methane emissions, Newsday said.
“This is a triumph for New Yorkers that will help fight climate change and boost food donation at the same time,” Margaret Brown, a senior attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said in a statement. “Wasted food is a serious economic, environmental and food security problem. The bill will help rescue wholesome surplus food at supermarkets and other large businesses for people in need. It will also help reduce the massive amounts of unnecessary climate pollution, wasted water, and lost money caused by good food going to waste.”