Finishing our plates: new regulations to help limit organic waste in NYC

July 22, 2016

Food Beverage & Agriculture Alert

Author(s): Terence L. Robinson

We’ve all gone out to eat and left a meal unfinished. Maybe we were full, maybe the meal wasn’t quite what we expected, or maybe we left early to catch a movie, show or sporting event. But what happens to the unfinished meal? In most instances that food—along with other organic waste like food soiled paper and yard waste—will end up in a landfill. But it could be put to good use. Organic waste can be turned into soil-enriching compost or used as an energy source for aerobic and anaerobic digesters. And now, the New York City Department of Sanitation aims to do something about it.

According to the NYC Department of Sanitation, organic waste makes up roughly one-third of the waste generated by the city’s food-generating businesses. The Department has passed new regulations that require much of that organic waste to be recycled. As of July 19, 2016, some large food producers in NYC will be required to separate and recycle their organic waste. The new regulations apply to arenas and stadiums that seat at least 15,000, any restaurant in a hotel with at least 150 rooms, any food manufacturer with a floor area of at least 25,000 sq. ft., and any food wholesaler with a floor area of at least 20,000 sq. ft.

For a compete summary of the rules, visit

The foregoing has been prepared for the general information of clients and friends of the firm. It is not meant to provide legal advice with respect to any specific matter and should not be acted upon without professional counsel. If you have any questions or require any further information regarding these or other related matters, please contact your regular Nixon Peabody LLP representative. This material may be considered advertising under certain rules of professional conduct.

Back to top