Food waste is a problem of the whole country. According to Feeding America, they throw away $ 218 billion worth of food each year. Twenty-one percent of the landfill is waste food, and 21 percent of fresh water is used to produce food, which is then discarded. In addition, £ 72 billion of food is lost each year, without waste at home.
The New York Food Donation and Recycling Act, in effect since 1 January 2022, focuses on two main objectives: one, to reduce food insecurity in New York State, and two, to prevent food waste from remaining in landfills. .
Although California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont have similar actions, it is hoped that the size and visibility of New York City will add even more impetus to these efforts across the country.
“Compared to most organic recycling powers, the New York Food Grants and Residues Recycling Act emphasizes and codifies a hierarchical food processing system and includes solutions that will feed hungry New Yorkers,” says Margaret Brown, senior attorney at the National Resource Defense. The world. Brown has been working for fairer and more sustainable food systems in New York for years.
Currently, the law requires companies and institutions that generate an average of two tons of discarded food per week or more per year to donate surplus edible food first and recycle any remaining leftovers if they are within 25 miles of processing to recycle organic products. composting device, anaerobic digester or other option.
“The current version of this law should be seen as a starting point. At least it would be great if the two-ton threshold was lowered over time, as processing capacity is increasing across the country, ”explains Brown.
To maximize the impact of the law, the New York Department of Conservation and Feeding New York State (FNYS) is working in partnership to ensure that food producers team up with food banks and food processors to reduce food waste.
In the past, bans on organic waste and food scrap recycling powers have had a major impact on increasing grants.
Feeding America estimates that 2.2 million individuals in New York City needed charitable food before the pandemic. There are currently more than 3 million individuals who are not food safe, 46 percent more than in 2019.
In preparation for the increase in donations and aid, FNYS has created a call center and information plan to help food producers understand how to donate edible food and where to direct food scraps. Their staff will provide on-site assistance and logistical coordination to help transfer more edible food, 3.7 million over the next three years, to food banks and nutrition programs. Feeding New York State is also working to secure funding through its food recovery program to cover transportation costs to ensure healthy food reaches essential food bank destinations and food programs.
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Photo courtesy of Foerster, Wikimedia Commons