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Organic Materials Management

NEW! - DEC Municipal Funding for Food Scraps Recycling Initiatives

The goal of this funding program is to assist municipalities in starting or expanding municipal food scraps recycling programs. To ensure equitable access and development of food scraps recycling opportunities for all New Yorkers, this year's opportunity will prioritize the first half of available funds for eligible projects serving Environmental Justice and Disadvantaged communities.

Approximately $2 million is available for funding of Municipal Food Scraps Recycling Initiatives. The first $1,000,000 will prioritize eligible projects that dedicate at least 50% of the total requested funding to serving environmental justice communities.

The following types of projects are included in this opportunity:

  • Creating or expanding programs to increase residential food scraps recycling
  • Creating or expanding food scraps recycling programs and facilities

Funding for Municipal Food Scraps Recycling Initiatives Now Accepting Applications. Learn more about this funding opportunity and how to apply!

Celebrate New York State Compost Awareness Week May 1 - 7

New York State joins the international community in celebrating Compost Awareness Week each year in early May. Join us May 1 - 7, 2022 to celebrate Compost Awareness Week. This years theme Recipe for Regeneration: Compost, focuses on the crucial role recycling our food scraps and yard trimmings plays by creating compost, which when added to soil results in a recipe that makes our food more nutritious, the air we breathe cleaner and our climate healthier overall.

There's composting events happening across the State, find an event near you!

Organics Diversion Laws in New York State

About Organics Material Management

Organic materials are carbon based compounds that come from living things and are readily biodegradable, making them a valuable resource rather than a waste. It is the organic matter and nutrients in these materials that lead to the useful products (e.g., compost, biogas, digestate, etc.) created at organics recycling facilities. From farm wastes to residential lawns, cafeteria scraps to biosolids, organic materials are a part of life. Managing these materials through reduction, reuse, and recycling is a high priority in New York State.

Waste management hierarchy logo

Following the waste management hierarchy, reduction and reuse are at the top, representing the highest priority for materials management. This is followed by recycling and then disposal. Recycling organic materials by composting, anaerobic digestion, land application, and other organics recycling technologies reduces the generation of greenhouse gases, creates soil amendments, energy, and jobs, and reduces reliance on waste disposal.

NYSDEC provides regulatory oversight, technical assistance, education and outreach, and funding for organics reduction and recycling in New York State.

Types of Organics Wastes

Some of the common organic materials that can be recycled include:

  • Animal Manure - Includes both manure and bedding materials.
  • Animal Mortalities - Mortalities are an unfortunate but real component of managing farm animals, wildlife, and pets. Visit Cornell Waste Management Institute's mortality composting for more information.
  • Biosolids - Biosolids are the solids or semi-solids resulting from wastewater treatment. When managed properly to destroy pathogenic organisms, biosolids can be used as a valuable soil amendment due to their organic matter and nutrient content.
  • FOG (Fats, Oils, and Greases) - FOG is generated from commercial food preparation including frying foods, cooking meats, and managing creams, sauces, and dairy products. Many commercial food preparers are required to install and maintain FOG interceptors to avoid disposal to the sewer system.
  • Food Processing Waste - Includes the preparation of produce, grains, dairy, and meats for human consumption. These businesses can generate a variety of organic wastes such as skins, rinds, pumps, whey, off-spec products, and process washwater/residuals.
    Orange peels in a bucket
  • Food Scraps - Includes food unfit for human consumption, unwanted cooking preparation/kitchen scraps and table scraps, including items such as vegetable trimmings, banana peels, apple cores, bones, egg shells, etc.
  • Food Soiled Paper - Includes paper products that are not recyclable due to contact with food residues or wax coatings, including napkins, paper towels, pizza boxes, uncoated paper plates, used coffee filters, etc.
  • Yard Trimmings - Includes leaves, grass clippings, garden and other plant debris, tree branches and limbs, aquatic weeds, etc. resulting from the maintenance of lawns, gardens, and public spaces.

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More about Organic Materials Management:

  • Food Donation and Food Scraps Recycling Law - Overview of NYS Food Donation and Food Scraps Recycling law.
  • Organics Management for Businesses - Managing excess edible food and food scraps most efficiently starts with reduction of wasted food followed by feeding hungry people, feeding animals, organics recycling including composting, anaerobic digestion or other technologies, and finally disposal.
  • Organics Recycling Facilities and Regulations - Organic recycling facilities include composting, anaerobic digestion, land application and other technologies. Under New York State solid waste regulations, there are three levels of regulatory oversight for facilities: exempt, registered and permitted.
  • Composting & Organics Recycling Technologies - There are many methods to recycle organic materials. Deciding on a method is dependent on a number of factors including the type of material, quantity, agricultural land availability, facility siting availability, markets for soil products, technology cost, government incentives available and other factors.
  • Composting and Organics Recycling for Municipalities - State and federal law gives localities the responsibility for planning and implementing materials management strategies. Each municipality and county in New York State is required to be part of a solid waste management planning unit.
  • Organics Managment for Farms - The feeding of breads from grocery stores and bakeries to animals on farms has occurred for decades.
  • Home Composting - Information on easy backyard composting.