Mayor Bloomberg announced the launch of a Commercial Food Waste Challenge initiative yesterday at the New York Times “Building Sustainable Cities” Conference. More than 100 participating restaurants have pledged to reduce 50 percent of the food waste they send to landfills through composting and other waste prevention strategies.
The initiative was hailed by a broad spectrum of industry and environmental groups. Lily Kelly, Interim Director of Global Green USA’s Coalition for Resource Recovery, praised the Mayor's efforts. "When more businesses recover their food waste it benefits all New Yorkers by reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and encouraging investment in local processing infrastructure," she said. "We are delighted to be working with the Mayor's office to support this program.”
Food waste comprises one-third of the city’s more than 20,000 tons of daily refuse. When food waste decomposes in landfills, it releases methane – a powerful greenhouse gas. This initiative will help New York City toward its larger PlaNYC goal of diverting 75% of solid waste from landfills by 2030.