New York Restaurants Team Up to Reduce Organic Waste

More than 100 restaurants are participating in the Food Waste Challenge

Of the 20,000 tons of garbage produced in New York City on a daily basis, more than 30 percent of it is food waste, anything from half-eaten sandwiches to stale bread to carrot tops, and its decomposition creates greenhouse gasses. In an effort to curb the amount of food waste that gets sent to city landfills, Mayor Bloomberg announced that more than 100 restaurants have signed on to participate in the first-ever Food Waste Challenge, and in an effort to reduce the amount of food waste they send to landfills by 50 percent, they’ll resort to composting and other strategies.

Restaurant groups including Batali and Bastianich Hospitality Group, Blue Hill, Chipotle, Cleaver Co., Juice Generation, Le Bernardin, Momofuku, Pret-a-Manger, Union Square Hospitality Group, and 'WichCraft have signed on already, and they’re hoping to attract many more.

"From franchises to farm-to-table restaurants, New York's food industry is joining our efforts to cut waste and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to build a greener, greater New York," Mayor Bloomberg said in a release. "Restaurants are a vital part of our economy and culture, and their participation in the Food Waste Challenge will help inform New Yorkers about sustainable practices and encourage their adoption."

Forty percent of all food in the United States goes uneaten, so this effort is as much to reduce the amount of food that’s thrown away as it is to turn that food into compost and keep it out of the landfills.


When a restaurant signs onto the program, they’re audited to see how much waste they generate and receive a "toolkit" of resources and tactics to help them reduce those levels.