DEC proposes regulations to prevent food waste

Hunger. Effort seeks to support food donation to help hungry New Yorkers and food recycling to help prevent the landfilling of food scraps.

| 31 Jan 2021 | 05:49

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos has announced proposed regulations that would support food donation to help hungry New Yorkers and food recycling to help prevent the landfilling of food scraps.

The proposed regulations would require composting and the donation of edible food by large food scrap generators to promote an effective reuse of materials otherwise headed for landfills.

DEC will hold two virtual public hearings on the draft regulations on April 7, and the agency is accepting public comments on the proposal until April 27.

Environmental benefits, food insecurity

“Reducing food waste has significant environmental benefits, including creating useful compost and decreasing the amount of materials that would otherwise be sent to a landfill, eventually creating methane gas that contributes to climate change,” Seggos said in the press release detailing the initiative. “Perhaps even more critical now, when so many New York families are struggling with food insecurity during the pandemic, these proposed regulations support initiatives to connect hungry people with edible food.”

The draft regulations would implement the Food Donation and Food Scraps Recycling Act, which goes into effect in January 2022.

An organics recycler

The 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 within 25 miles of the generator. 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’s draft regulations define a food scrap generator as an entity that generates an annual average of two tons of food scraps or more per week at a single location. These entities include, but are not limited to, supermarkets, food service businesses such as restaurants, higher education institutions, hotels, 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.

Hearing information is available on DEC’s website at

The public is invited to submit written comments on the proposed regulations now through April 27.

Written comments can be submitted by email to 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.