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DEC: Additional $500,000 for statewide effort to improve food scrap recycling & prevent food waste

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Fri, Apr 23rd 2021 01:40 pm

$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 

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos announced 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 weeklong celebration of Earth Day 2021.

“This significant boost in funding comes at a critical time when many New Yorkers are struggling with food insecurity during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” Seggos said. “In addition to helping to address hunger in our communities, reducing food waste benefits the environment by creating useful compost and decreasing the amount of materials that would otherwise be sent to the landfill, eventually creating methane gas that contributes to climate change.” 

Feeding New York State Executive Director Dan Egan said, "Feeding New York State and our 10 member food banks are grateful to DEC for this grant, which gives us the tools we need to educate food waste generators on their waste-reduction obligations and connect potential donors to the charitable food network. We look forward to continuing and strengthening the great partnership we have built with the DEC. Together, we will reduce waste, mitigate environmental effects and, most important, feed our neighbors in need." 

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 [email protected] or by mail to ORRS-Part 350, NYSDEC, Division of Materials Management, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-7253. Include "Comments on Proposed Part 350" in the subject line of the email.

A press release said New York “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, Gov. Andrew 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 designed to help prevent hunger and reduce the disposal of food waste though food donation and recycling.

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