Monday, April 26, 2021

DEC announces initiatives to boost recycling, prevent food waste

  • compostDEC Announces Additional $500,000 for Statewide Effort to Improve Food Scrap Recycling and Prevent Food Waste
  • $2 Million Total to Bolster New Regulations to Reduce Landfilling of Food Scraps and Connect Hungry New Yorkers with Edible Food
  • DEC Accepting Public Comments on Proposed Food Waste Regulations until April 27
  • The New York State Center for Sustainable Materials Management Launches Recycling Website on Earth Day

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced that DEC is adding $500,000 to the $1.5 million previously announced 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, and are part of a statewide effort to increase food donations to hungry New Yorkers and encourage food recycling to help prevent the landfilling of food scraps. The announcement was made during the State’s week-long celebration of Earth Day 2021.

In January, DEC proposed new draft regulations to strengthen the Food Donation and Food Scraps Recycling Act. These regulations implement 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 regulations will drive increased food donations, helping New Yorkers in need and creating jobs to assist organizations and institutions that handle food donations. The act also requires generators to recycle food scraps by using organics recyclers such as composting facilities to reduce the amount of food scraps that would otherwise end up in landfills and ultimately produce methane, a potent greenhouse gas. DEC is accepting public comments on the draft regulations until April 27.

Comments on the draft regulations can be submitted by email to or by mail to: ORRS-Part 350, NYSDEC, Division of Materials Management, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-7253. Please include “Comments on Proposed Part 350” in the subject line of the email.

New York State has taken decisive action to combat food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic, including the launch of the Nourish New York program and a pilot partnership with HelloFresh to provide fresh meals to veterans, military families, and eligible New York City residents, among other initiatives. In July, Governor Cuomo announced $1.5 million in funding for Feeding New York State to support its network of 10 regional food banks, as well as local farms to help provide milk and produce to food insecure New Yorkers in response to the increased need for food bank services during the COVID-19 pandemic. These resources bolster the more than $4.3 million announced by the Governor last year for projects across the state that will help prevent hunger and reduce the disposal of food waste though food donation and recycling.

DEC and SUNY ESF Partner to Help Reduce Recycling Confusion, Improve Recycling Quality Statewide

The New York State Center for Sustainable Materials Management (NYS Center for SMM), based at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF), launched a first-of-its-kind statewide recycling website to address residential recycling confusion and contamination across the State. Visitors to will learn about the value of everyday materials and why it is important to recycle correctly.

The Recycle Right NY campaign was originally launched by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) after a series of recycling stakeholder meetings in 2018 to jump start discussion aimed at addressing challenges facing New York’s recycling system. Campaign management was transitioned to the Syracuse University Center for Sustainable Community Solutions (SU-CSCS), a core partner with the NYS Center for SMM. The SU-CSCS team worked with more than 100 New York state recycling professionals to further build out this important resource.


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Information attributed to NYSDEC is taken from press releases and news announcements from New York State's Department of Environmental Conservation.

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