Historic Anti-Food Waste Program to Be Law in New York

(Albany, New York) -- Senator Todd Kaminsky announced today that his landmark proposal to divert discarded, inedible food to processing facilities that produce clean energy -- and edible food to those who are hungry -- was included in the New York State budget.

“Diverting discarded food from landfills will both protect our planet and help ensure that our neighbors have enough food to eat,” said Senator Todd Kaminsky, Chair of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee. “Instead of dumping unused food and releasing harmful greenhouse gasses into our atmosphere, we can capture those gasses to reduce carbon emissions and produce energy. This simple change in our behavior has the potential to create new jobs, feed the hungry, and catapult us to our overall goal of reducing carbon emissions in New York.”

Each year, New Yorkers produce more than 3.9 million tons of food scraps from restaurants, grocery stores and other facilities. The vast majority of these food scraps are dumped into our landfills, where they break down and release methane — a greenhouse gas with 86 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide. Edible food can be donated to those in need, while inedible food can be used to produce a fuel that can significantly reduce carbon emissions in New York.

The measure Senator Kaminsky successfully pushed -- with support from Governor Cuomo -- will require supermarkets, restaurants and other large generators of excess food to donate their leftovers and send inedible food to a processing facility to be turned into fuel, made from the methane gases the decomposing wastes emit. By capturing these gases —  instead of allowing them to escape into the atmosphere — and by using the fuel to generate power, heat homes or fuel vehicles, New York’s ambitious carbon reduction goals can be advanced.