New York City to Require Food Waste Recycling

Date: June 16, 2013

Source: New York City

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg aims to green the Big Apple by expanding food waste recycling efforts following a surprisingly successful test program in 3,500 Staten Island homes and some Manhattan apartment buildings. Bloomberg, perhaps taking a page from other cities including San Francisco and Seattle that have adopted rules that mandate recycling of food waste from homes, wants to expand his city's food waste program to 100,000 homes and 100 high-rise apartments in all five boroughs by this fall. That is about 5 percent of all households in the city. Initially, the city would employ a composting plant to process 100,000 tons of food wastes per year, which is about 10 percent of the city's residential food waste. Later the city will seek proposals from firms to construct a plant that would convert food waste to biogas which could be burned to generate electricity.

The recycling program would expand to the entire city and become mandatory by 2015 or 2016. According to Bloomberg, it will save the city money, possibly $100 million per year. Food waste and other organic materials account for almost a third of all residential waste and the city spent $336 million last year exporting most of it to landfills in Ohio, Pennsylvania and South Carolina. "We bury 1.2 million tons of food waste in landfills every year at a cost of nearly $80 per ton," he said. "That waste can be used as fertilizer or converted to energy at a much lower price. That's good for the environment and for taxpayers."

See also: "New York Mayor Wants Food Waste Recycling and Ban on Styrofoam," (, February 14, 2013.

Sign up to receive our free Weekly News Bulletin