New York DEC opens comment period on proposed food recycling regs

By Erin Voegele | February 03, 2021

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation on Jan. 27 released proposed regulations to implement the Food Donation and Food Scraps Recycling Act, which was enacted in 2019 and takes effect on Jan. 1, 2022.

The legislation altered state law to require businesses that generate an annual average of 2 tons or more of food waste per week at a single location to donate excess edible food and recycle all remaining food scraps if they are located within 25 miles of an organics recycler, such as an anaerobic digestion or composting facility. Entities subject to the new requirements include supermarkets, restaurants, institutions of higher education, food processors, correctional facilities, and sports or entertainment venues. The proposal exempts New York City, hospitals, nursing homes, adult care facilities, and elementary and secondary schools.

According to the DEC, the draft regulations detail requirements to donate excess food and recycle food scraps if an organics facility is available, as well as annual reporting. The proposal also includes a temporary waiver provision for generators that demonstrate a need to be excluded from certain requirements, such as a lack of food scraps transporters nearby. The proposal also outlines requirements that apply to transporters, transfer facilities, landfills, and combustion facilities to ensure that once the food scraps are separated by the generator they are ultimately recycled and not disposed.

Virtual public hearings are scheduled to be held on April 7. Written comments can be submitted through April 27. Final regulations are scheduled to be promulgated later this year. Additional information is available on the DEC website