KINGSTON – The Ulster County Legislature has approved the county Food Waste Prevention and Recovery Act as a means of implementing sustainable food waste diversion and composting requirements for large food waste generators.
The law is intended to prevent food waste, rescue surplus wholesome food for those in need, and direct any remaining food waste material for animal feed or composting.
The county law applies to two-ton a week or more food waste generators and captures smaller waste producers over the next three years and by January 1, 2023 will cover generators of a half-ton of food scraps per week.
The state has a similar law that takes effect in 2022, but only applies to produces of two tons or more of food waste per week and exempts schools, hospitals and nursing homes.
Legislator Manna Jo Greene spearheaded this effort with the Food Waste Composting Working Group and stakeholders for several months. Those stakeholders include haulers, commercial composting facilities, supermarkets, schools, health care facilities and others.
Ulster has 25 to 30 facilities that produce two tons or more of food waste a week and several of them along with smaller facilities are already actively engaged in food waste diversion, said Greene.
She estimated that more than 10,000 tons of food waste per year will be diverted when the law is fully implemented in 2023.