NYS: DEC announces $2 million grants to bolster food scraps recycling

NYS: DEC announces $2 million grants to bolster food scraps recycling

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced $2 million in new grants to bolster food scraps recycling.

While announcing this in a statement on Tuesday May 3, 2022, DEC Commissioner, Basil Seggos, stated that the  funding is available to municipalities statewide to help establish or expand food scrap recycling programs and facilities. 

The first $1 million in grants will prioritize eligible projects that dedicate at least half of the funding to serving Environmental Justice communities to ensure these communities disproportionately overburdened by environmental pollution are able to participate in the initiative’s climate and waste-reduction benefits.

“Food scrap recycling infrastructure is critical to achieve New York’s waste diversion goals and these grants help ensure equitable access to this new funding opportunity,” said Commissioner Seggos. 

“Composting can help protect our shared environment by diverting food waste to help reduce our dependance on landfills, protect the planet from harmful methane emissions, and recycle organic nutrients back into the soil to grow healthy food. 

"In addition, successful programs like the Food Donation and Food Waste Scraps Recycling Law support the State’s efforts under Governor Kathy Hochul’s leadership to reduce waste and climate-altering emissions while getting hundreds of thousands of pounds of quality food to New Yorkers in need.”

Commissioner Seggos celebrated the announcement at an event at the Radix Ecological Sustainability Center in the city of Albany with Mayor Kathy Sheehan, recognizing the city’s food scraps drop-off location and compost education program. 

The city received a $225,000 Food Waste Reduction grant from DEC in 2019 and is putting it to work in the community.

Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan said, “I want to thank Governor Hochul and Commissioner Seggos for investing in food scrap recycling programs and facilities on a local level. 

"Funding waste diversion programs in an equitable way allows for increased participation in sustainable practices and provides nourishment to those with food insecurities. 

"The benefits to our environment include reducing dependence on landfills and combustors and helping lower climate-altering emissions while producing valuable, nutrient-rich compost that improves soil health and water quality.

"New Yorkers are national leaders when it comes to sustainability, and effectively managing and recycling the waste we generate is in line with that precedent. What a wonderful way to recognize Compost Awareness Week here in Albany and across the State.”

Recycling food scraps, grass, leaves, yard clippings, and other organic materials through composting helps to lower climate-altering emissions from landfills and combustors, while producing valuable, nutrient-rich compost that improves soil health and water quality. 

Diverting organics from landfills is a component of the Draft Scoping Plan to implement New York’s ambitious Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.

The State’s Climate Action Council is holding a public hearing tomorrow in Brooklyn to receive comments on the draft Scoping Plan.

The food scraps and compost initiatives targeted for funding in this round of DEC grants are among many efforts New York State is undertaking to promote both increased food donation and food scraps recycling.