Mayor Bloomberg Signs Legislation Regulating Commercial Organic Waste

December 30, 2013

Remarks by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg at a Public Hearing on Local Laws

“The next bill before me today is Introductory Number 1162-A, sponsored at the request of our Administration by Council Members James, Brewer, Chin, Fidler, Gentile, Koo, Rodriguez, Van Bramer, Mark-Viverito, Gennaro, Koppell and Ulrich. This legislation regulates commercial organic waste in the City.

“Of the 35,000 tons of waste New York City sees every day, 30% of it is made up of organic waste, such as food scraps. Although this waste can be composted, it is often either land filled or incinerated. One of the greatest challenges to more widespread composting is the lack of composting capacity in the City. In order to spur this development, composting operators would need a steady and reliable stream of organic material from commercial establishments in New York. One possible way to increase demand for this material is to require commercial establishments to source separate their organic material.

“This legislation requires restaurants and other food service establishments of a certain size or number within the City, and other commercial operations that generate significant food waste, to source separate their organic waste by July 1, 2015. Examples of entities that would be required to do this include, but are not limited to, stadiums, chain food service restaurants, catering establishments, and supermarkets.

“The Department of Sanitation Commissioner will be required to evaluate the capacity of facilities within one hundred miles of the City that compost or process organic waste. If the Commissioner determines that there is a sufficient capacity at a cost that is competitive with regular waste collection, the Commissioner will designate establishments that will be required to source-separate this material whose total organic tonnage is commensurate with the estimated capacity.

“To assist businesses with this conversion, during the first year a warning will be issued instead of a first fine for failure to comply.

“I would like to thank Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty and Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability Commissioner Sergej Mahnovski, and their staff for their work on this bill along with my Office of City Legislative Affairs. I would also like to thank the City Council for approving this legislation.”

Contact:

Marc LaVorgna/Evelyn Erskine (212) 788-2958