New York businesses now required to put food waste to beneficial use

The New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY) announced new rules Feb. 15 expanding the city’s commercial organic waste separation program. Some larger restaurants, chain restaurants and grocery stores will now be required to put their food waste to beneficial use instead of sending it to landfills where it releases methane gas, a harmful greenhouse gas and major contributor to climate change. The rules, published in the City Record, are expected to divert about 50,000 tons of food waste from landfills every year.

Businesses covered under the new rules include:

  • restaurants with a floor area of at least 15,000 square feet;
  • chain restaurants with 100 or more locations in the city that operate under common ownership or control, are individually franchised outlets of a parent business or do business under the same corporate name; and
  • food retailers (grocery stores) having a floor area space of at least 25,000 square feet.

To comply with the new rules, covered businesses can hire a private carter, self-transport or process their food scraps on-site, as long as the material goes for beneficial use. Businesses may also donate food that would otherwise be thrown away to a third-party charity or food bank, sell or donate the food to a farmer for feedstock or sell or donate meat byproducts to a rendering company.

To allow time for education and outreach, the rules take effect in August 2018 and will be enforced starting February 2019. The department’s outreach staff, along with other relevant agency partners, will work to educate and inform businesses of the new rules.

MLB takes on sustainability efforts during spring training

The MLB, New York City, and Arizona State University’s (ASU’s) School of Sustainability, Tempe, Arizona, have announced they engaged in sustainability efforts during 2018 spring training, presented by Camping World, Lincolnshire, Illinois. The efforts took place during parts of the Cactus League schedule.

Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, the spring training home of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies in Scottsdale, Arizona, was the focus site of the Recycle Rally initiative that will test and implement zero waste strategies. Recycle Rally’s overarching goals were reducing landfill impact, increasing operational efficiencies and improving the fan experience across all Cactus League ballparks. This new partnership launched Feb. 21 when the Arizona Diamondbacks hosted Arizona State University for a spring training exhibition game. Salt River Fields was expected to host nearly 300,000 fans over the course of the 2018 spring training.

As part of the initiative, a group of eleven ASU undergraduate and graduate students analyzed the waste stream and operations at Salt River Fields to help the venue become more environmentally friendly. ASU determined how the Diamondbacks and Rockies can minimize and most effectively manage waste, including adopting effective waste diversion practices at the ballpark through recycling, reusing and composting. Additionally, the partnership engaged fans during spring training games at Salt River Fields through a series of interactive activities that educate about the challenges and impacts of waste.

While Salt River Fields was the initial focus of the initiative, MLB and ASU plan to work with individual clubs to incorporate snapshot-level analyses for all Cactus League ballparks in 2018.

The groups will visit each of the 10 Cactus League ballparks at least once during spring training for analysis, documentation of current waste systems and to recommend opportunities for improvement.