Department of Environmental Conservation

D E C banner

Organic Materials Management

Rethink Food Waste NY - Free Technical Assistance for Food Related Businesses and Organics Recyclers

DEC recently announced a new three-year contract with the Center for EcoTechnology (CET) to provide additional technical assistance for those interested in sustainably managing excess food and food scraps, to further reduce the amount of wasted food in New York State. This new initiative, named Rethink Food Waste NY, provides free food waste solutions for New York businesses, municipalities, organic recyclers (composting, anaerobic digestion, etc.), food relief organizations, and others!

Assistance is available at no cost to businesses, composting facilities, municipalities, and others in New York. Learn more about Rethink Food Waste NY and how to get started today.

Free Assistance for Businesses & Institutions

CET will provide customized recommendations to reduce the amount of food wasted, create solutions to realize potential monetary savings to your purchasing costs, and assist in implementing food scraps collection and recycling programs.

Free Assistance for Organics Recycling Facilities (Composting Facilities, Anaerobic Digestion Facilities, etc.)

CET and their team of organics recycling consultants will assist composting and anaerobic digestion facilities (public, private, non-profit owned and/or operated) with improving operations and potentially expanding to incorporate more food scraps.

DEC Funding for Local Emergency Food Relief Equipment

The goal of this funding program is to assist 501(c)(3) not-for-profits that provide emergency food relief in New York State. Approximately $500,000 is available for Local Emergency Food Relief Equipment Grants.

2023 Amendment: Approximately $1,750,000 has been additionally allocated to this grant program to fund additional applicants.

Eligible Applicants
501(c)(3) not-for-profit (NFP) corporations that provide emergency food relief in New York State, excluding New York State Food Banks, are considered eligible applicants. Note: New York State Food Banks are not eligible.

Eligible Equipment
The following types of equipment that assist local emergency food relief organizations in providing food to those in need are eligible for funding under this grant program:

  • trucks, refrigerated vehicles and related equipment (trailers, insulated food storage containers, etc.) used in the transport of food; and
  • cooling equipment (freezers, refrigerators, walk-in freezer or cold room, etc.) and related installation costs (electrical, delivery, etc.).

Applications will be accepted on an ongoing basis from October 5, 2022 3:00PM EST to Wednesday October 4th, 2023 3:00 PM EST. All projects will be evaluated by DEC for eligibility in the order in which they are received (first-in, first-out).

To view the Grant Opportunity Webpage (read full Request for Application, Q&A Document and Instructions for Applying):
• Visit the Grants Gateway Opportunity Portal
• Next to 'Search by Grant Opportunity' - Enter: Local Emergency Food Relief Equipment - 2022
• Click 'Search'
• Click Local Emergency Food Relief Equipment - 2022

Important Grant Program Dates & Times
Dates & Times
Application Opens in Grants Gateway October 5, 2022 PM
Informational Webinar on Using Grants Gateway

Wednesday October 19, 2022 1:00 PM EST

View Recording

Q&A Period

Ongoing - updated weekly on Wednesdays.

View Q&A Document

You can also view the Q&A document on this grant's specific grant opportunity webpage on Grants Gateway, see instructions above.

Submit your questions to

Application Submitted End Date Wednesday October 4, 2023 3:00 PM EST, unless DEC withdraws the RFA or funds are exhausted

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.

2023 Amendment: Approximately $750,000 has been additionally allocated to this grant program to fund additional applicants.

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.

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.

Stay Up To Date

Sign up for DECDelivers Solid Waste and Recycling topic to stay up to date with news, regulatory requirements and changes, funding opportunities and upcoming events in the materials management industry.

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 Management 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.