Scrap food law requiring composting goes into effect Jan. 1
Cloey Callahan reports for the Times Union that a new state law goes into effect Jan. 1 requiring institutions that generate an annual average of two tons of unused food per week to donate excess edible food, and recycle all remaining food scraps if they are close to an organics recycler. The New York State Food Scraps Recycling law will impact restaurants, grocery stores, hotels and motels, colleges and universities, malls, event centers and other large generators of food scraps, but. not hospitals, nursing homes, adult care facilities, farms, and K-12 schools. The hope is it will also impact the environment, and cut greenhouse gas emissions generated by food waste. Much composting has already begun in the Hudson Valley. “I think the law was written as a starting point,” said Josephine Papagni, co-owner operator of Ulster-based Greenway Environmental Services, who started collecting food scraps in 2000. “Many of those who are generating two tons a week are really already collecting and sending their food waste to be composted. The law creates awareness for those few who don’t know, and sets the stage to make sure we have adequate food waste processing resources.” The DEC says about 40 percent of the food produced in this country goes uneaten, and an estimated 2.8 million New Yorkers are food insecure. The hope is the new law moves some of that excess edible food from landfills to hungry mouths. Ulster County passed the similar “Food Waste Prevention and Recovery Act” in 2019 and will move from a two tons per week average requirement to just half a ton per week on July 1, 2023. Bard College is already composting and praises the new law. “It’s like a triple win – it helps lower our carbon emissions while saving in our wallets and helping people too,” said Laurie Husted, Chief Sustainability Officer at Bard College. “This is a great opportunity to question the systems we’re a part of and to think can we do things differently, and that’s what a law does. I’m very pleased it’s here.” Read more about this story in the Times Union.