April 9, 2024 | Business+Finance, Food Waste, Policies + Regulations

Edible Food Recovery In New York State

Top: New York State’s 10 Feeding America member food banks reached a five-million-pound edible food collection milestone in October 2023 as part of the ongoing disposal ban implementation. Image courtesy Feeding New York State

Several states’ organics disposal bans or mandates have carve outs for edible food recovery, including California, New York, and most recently, Washington state. A question that arises is how effective this policy initiative is at actually recovering and distributing edible food. Data released last fall in New York State indicates the edible food recovery component of its ban has significantly increased donations since the law — which applies to generators of 2 tons/week or more — went into effect in January 2022. Feeding New York State (NYS), the state association of New York’s 10 Feeding America member food banks, reached a five-million-pound collection milestone in October 2023 as part of the ongoing ban implementation. To support the law’s implementation and successful food donations, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation provided $4.8 million to Feeding NYS and the 10 regional food banks through the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) to dramatically increase donations beginning in October 2021. The funds are used by Feeding NYS to deploy staff to grocery stores, restaurants, colleges, and other food industry facilities to increase participation in the program and encourage food donations. The fund also supported several equipment purchases for the 10 regional food banks to increase food pickup capabilities at food pantries, meal centers, and other partner agencies.

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