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NYC Department Of Sanitation Tells Food Industry It Plans To Make Composting More Of A Priority

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The city's Department of Sanitation is making it clear: focusing on food waste is not a waste of time.

As CBS2's Jessica Moore found out Wednesday, a new city-wide proposal could change how certain businesses discard food.

From scraps to leftovers, how certain food is discarded in many restaurants could soon change dramatically. The city is now putting a spotlight on food waste, focusing on composting.

"This should have been done a long time ago," said Gabriela Uribe of Marine Park.

"I think that it should be necessary for all restaurants to do it," added Kayko Donald of Little Italy.

Food composting NYC
New York City announced on Oct. 9, 2019, it plans to put more of an emphasis on the composting of food at certain businesses. (Photo: CBS2)

The sanitation department recently announced the third expansion to its organic recycling requirements for certain businesses.

"The genesis of this is that organics are a huge portion of the commercial waste stream," Commissioner Kathryn Garcia said.

Garcia said the new rules are expected to keep about 100,000 tons of food waste out of landfills every year, representing an important step toward the city's zero-waste goals.

"Really, what we want to see if actual tonnage moved to beneficial use. That is really the goal, to get this material out of landfills," Garcia said.

The proposal would cover nearly 8,500 additional businesses, including food service establishments larger than 7,000 square feet, chain restaurants with two or more city locations, and grocery stores larger than 10,000 square feet.

"Part of this is not just to get more companies composting, but it's also pushing to get people to do it better," said Christina Grace, the CEO of Foodprint.

Foodprint works with businesses to come up with composting and recycling programs. Grace said the quicker businesses get on board, the faster they can see the benefits.

"When it comes to food waste, you're going to save money by reducing it. Composting here in New York City costs the same amount as trash to haul away and process," Grace said.

A hearing on the proposed rules is scheduled for November and could go into effect six months later, Moore reported.

For more information on how you can let your voice be heard, please click here.

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