WASHINGTON, DC, DECEMBER 20, 2013 – Yesterday, the New York City Council passed pathbreaking legislation requiring commercial food scraps from the largest food service establishments to be recycled. The new “Commercial Organic Waste” policy continues the momentum of similar state-wide policies requiring food waste recycling passed in Vermont and Connecticut and initiatives in cities like San Francisco, Austin, Portland and Seattle. Expected to be signed into law next week, Mayor Michael Bloomberg noted that “[this] initiative is a significant step towards our NYC goal of diverting more waste from landfills” – intended to reduce the City’s greenhouse gas emissions from waste disposal, and produce resources such as biogas and soil amendment products from what used to be regarded as wastes.
“NYC’s extraordinary action will be a shot of adrenaline to the growing biogas and compost industries which are ready, able and willing to manage organic wastes as a resource. This new policy fulfills a fundamental need for biogas and composting project development: a predictable and reliable source of organic feedstocks. With it, compost manufacturing facilities can produce a reliable supply of compost and biogas facilities can continuously produce biogas and digested materials for gardening and agriculture,” said Patrick Serfass, Executive Director of the American Biogas Council (ABC). “Project financing also flows more readily with more certainty in feedstock supply, and will create jobs, renewable energy and soil amendment products while reducing greenhouse gases.
“Nationally, this will bring attention to one of the easiest steps cities and states can take to improve the environment and economy: require organics in the waste stream to be recycled just like everyone should recycle glass, metal, paper and plastic.”
Combined with the City’s recent adoption of a law establishing organic resource collection pilots from schools and residences, and building on initial efforts by local haulers to begin the process of diverting organics, Intro 1162 extends the City’s intention to divert thousands of tons of food scraps from disposal in distant landfills to a range of better, local options – including composting and the production of biogas through anaerobic digestion.
“With the passage of this initiative, NYC is taking a bold and decisive step toward establishing a sustainable environment for its citizens. This move will benefit generations to come,” said Lori Scozzafava, Executive Director of the US Composting Council (USCC).