When 50,000 fans fill up Yankee Stadium to cheer on the Bronx Bombers or 20,000 concertgoers rock out at Madison Square Garden, they generate a whole lot of food waste that can end up in landfills, releasing methane gas, a harmful global warming pollutant that is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide. In an effort to curb some of these detrimental impacts, NYC is now requiring big businesses such as Yankee Stadium and MSG to compost their food waste. The commercial waste disposal law that took effect on July 19 mandates that certain large businesses separate and recycle organic waste. The law applies to about 350 establishments, including stadiums, hotels, food manufacturers, and wholesalers.
Under the new regulations, companies can compost the organic waste themselves, transport the waste to a facility for processing or hire a private carting service to transport the waste. Fines will be imposed on businesses that do not comply with the new rules, but won’t kick in for another six months. Companies that want to compost the waste themselves on-site must register with the Department of Sanitation within 30 days of installing on-site processing equipment. Options for food waste bio-digesting machines include ORCA, Waste2O, BioHiTech and Regenis.
Businesses that must comply with the new law include food service establishments in hotels with 150 or more rooms, food service vendors in stadiums or arenas with a capacity of 15,000 or more people, food manufacturers with a floor area of at least 25,000 square feet and food wholesalers with a floor area of at least 20,000 square feet.
The new regulations align with Mayor Bill de Blasio’s ambitious goal of “zero waste” in landfills by 2030. The mayor’s Zero Waste Challenge recently concluded, with 31 participating businesses diverting nearly 37,000 tons of waste, including composting over 24,500 tons of organic material and donating 322 tons of food to New Yorkers in need.
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