New York City Restaurants Might Have to Start Composting

New York City Restaurants Might Have to Start Composting

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

The sanitation department is expected to come to a decision by July. 

In an effort to minimize food waste, the New York City Sanitation Department is currently considering a composting requirement for the city’s restaurants, catering companies, hotels, and groceries stores.

The city already collects residential food waste from a number of outer-borough neighborhoods, but now the department is considering expanding the program.

“I get to determine if there's [composting] capacity in the region and which industries would have to source-separate their organics,” sanitation commissioner Kathryn Garcia told Crain’s New York. “We're still running through the data, but it's based on how much [food waste] the different industries generate, how close they are to one another — so we try to eliminate any increase in truck traffic — and then, again, it's also about capacity.”

A number of small organizations do provide composting services for those interested, but the city has yet to commit to a bulk composting system, which could be “complaint magnets” because of the inevitable odors, contamination dangers, and site locations in general.

“The restaurant industry is supportive of environmentally friendly practices,” Andrew Rigie, executive director of the NYC Hospitality Alliance, told Crain’s. “But we need to make sure any new requirements aren't operationally and cost-prohibitive."

A decision is expected to be made by Commissioner Garcia by July 1. 

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