Mayor Bloomberg’s NYC Food Waste Challenge reached a major milestone recently with the announcement that the city diverted over 2,500 tons of food from landfills in the past six months. The voluntary composting program, which consists of over 100 participating restaurants, aims to divert 75 percent of all solid waste from landfills by 2030. Bloomberg also discussed plans to expand the program to include other large businesses such as hotels and stadiums.
Every year, the city sends nearly 1.3 million tons of food waste to landfills where it breaks down over time to produce greenhouse gases. To tackle the city’s “final recycling frontier,” the city launched the Food Waste Challenge as part of PlaNYC in the spring of this year. Combining sound business practices with environmental benefits, the program invited restaurants to commit to a 50 percent food waste diversion goal.
In exchange for composting or donating unsellable goods to food banks, restaurants receive public recognition for their involvement and resources from city officials. To help businesses better visualize their waste streams, the city has also partnered with a startup to begin developing a cloud-based software called “MintScraps” that will track waste and help identify cost-saving strategies.
“It’s not complicated to keep food waste out of landfills – compost and food donation are two easy options,” said celebrity chef Mario Batali. “The Food Waste Challenge is helping businesses do exactly this, which is why we have been involved since day one. We applaud the Mayor for taking steps to make composting the norm for New York businesses.”