The Mayor’s Zero Waste Challenge, in its first year, was created to help large waste-generating businesses—hotels, arenas, food wholesalers and manufacturers, commercial building owners, and others strive to reach zero waste to landfill and incineration.
The Mayor’s Zero Waste Challenge launched in February 2016 and runs until June, 2016.
Building on the City’s ambitious goal of sending zero waste to landfill by 2030, the Mayor’s Zero Waste Challenge (ZWC) invites New York City businesses to match the City’s zero waste goals by challenging them to divert at least 50 percent of their waste from landfill and incineration by June 15, 2016. By participating, businesses are role models for others in their industry and are recognized by the Mayor’s Office as leaders in environmentally sustainable waste management. ZWC participants are also required to donate leftover edible food to local charities to help end hunger in NYC.
The City is making significant efforts in reaching its zero waste goal through reforms to residential waste management and has expanded those efforts to include commercial entities.
All businesses in NYC are required to recycle metal, glass, plastic, beverage cartons, paper and cardboard, and ensure to the best of their ability that these recyclable materials are properly handled by their private carter. The City published new business recycling rules in the City Record on February 5, 2016, and mailed official notices outlining the requirements to all businesses.
Further, beginning July 19, 2016, under the new business organics rules, certain New York City businesses are required by law to separate their organic waste for beneficial use (composting, anaerobic digestion or other).
Businesses covered by this regulation are given the option to arrange for collection by a private carter, transport organic waste themselves, or process the material on site.
The NYC Department of Sanitation has created materials and trainings to assist businesses in complying with the recycling and organics separation requirements, and to encourage additional waste prevention efforts. Learn more about Zero Waste and businesses.
The ZWC, which began in mid-February and will conclude in mid-June 2016, will help businesses that are affected by these new rules increase their recycling and organics separation and diversion efforts by challenging them to divert as much material from landfill and incineration as possible. Participants were provided with training materials, a customized monthly waste tracking report, case studies provided by experts, and the opportunity to attend monthly workshops led by the Mayor’s Office featuring guest speakers in the field of waste reduction and diversion.
Participants will be recognized for their achievements at the end of the challenge including but not limited to diverting 50%, 75% or 90% of waste from landfill and incineration, the most donated food to local charities, the most creative source reduction strategy and the most improved diversion rate during the course of the challenge, and the best new waste reduction or diversion program started during the challenge. While we ask that participants commit to 50% diversion of waste from landfill and incineration, there are no penalties for not achieving this waste reduction milestone. Our efforts are rooted in helping businesses manage their waste more sustainably and providing resources and technical assistance as needed.
If you have questions about the Zero WasteChallenge please contact Sarah Currie-Halpern and Kate Gouin by email.
There are 39 locations (representing 31 businesses) participating in the Mayor’s Zero Waste Challenge. Participants proudly hail from all five of the City’s boroughs and are leaders in their efforts to help the City reach its zero waste goals.
Since February 2016, these businesses have been closely monitoring their waste streams and striving to reduce the amount of waste they send to landfill and incineration, as well as amplified efforts to reduce overall waste generation. While the target is at least 50% diversion of waste from landfill and incineration, many businesses have already surpassed this benchmark and are truly zero waste leaders in their field!
Results of the Mayor’s Zero Waste Challenge will be announced in late June 2016.
Official Mayor’s Zero Waste Challenge Participants:
Participants were acknowledged for their accomplishments during the Challenge. Categories of awards went to:
Participant’s Waste Haulers & Consultants and Food Donation Collectors: