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New York achieves 5 million pound mark in statewide food donation and recycling initiative

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

Governor Kathy Hochul announced today that New York’s collaborative effort with non-profit Feeding New York State has successfully diverted five million pounds of food from waste streams since the implementation of the state’s Food Donation and Food Scraps Recycling Law.

This initiative, which both addresses food insecurity and combats climate change, allows surplus food to be repurposed, supporting New York’s environmental and public health goals. Funding from the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has bolstered the program, with Feeding NYS utilizing these resources to amplify food donations from various sectors of the food industry.

Launched in October 2021, the program’s momentum has significantly grown over the years. Feeding NYS reported a consistent uptick in monthly food donations, noting a rise from 50-60,000 pounds during its early months to over 300,000 pounds monthly in the past half-year. This rapid acceleration in contributions led to the program achieving the one-million-pound milestone by August 2022. Furthermore, with the state’s investment, Feeding NYS has not only increased its outreach to potential donors but also bolstered the logistical capabilities of the 10 regional food banks to manage and distribute these larger volumes.

State officials lauded the program’s progress and its multifaceted benefits. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos highlighted the twofold success of the initiative, emphasizing both the mitigation of hunger and the reduction of greenhouse gases, a primary contributor to climate change. With methane release from organic waste decomposition identified as a major source of greenhouse emissions in the waste sector, initiatives like this are pivotal in advancing New York’s climate objectives. The state has also reminded its citizens that as the hunting season is underway, contributions to venison donation programs remain another potent avenue to combat food scarcity.