Gaeta Green Environmental Services does its best to keep its customers informed about what happens in the community especially when it comes to local laws and what our customers need to do to remain compliant. In this article, we want to educate our customers on what composting is, how to find out if they need to comply with this new law, what the rules are, and what Gaeta can do to help.
UPDATE: August 2022
The New York City Department of Sanitation has begun circulating official notices that the warning period for New York City Food Service Establishments is over and the DSNY will begin enforcing Organics Compliance over the next 30 days.
What is Composting?
Compost is organic material that can be added to soil to help plants grow. Food scraps and yard waste together currently make up more than 28 percent of what we throw away and should be composted instead. Making compost keeps these materials out of landfills where they take up space and release methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Essentially Composting from a waste management perspective is simply separating your organic waste from your typical garbage so that it could be processed separately and reduce what goes into our landfills.
Do I Need To Comply With The NYC Composing Laws?
The NYC Composting Laws have actually been in effect since July 2016, but the DSNY will now be strictly enforcing the law very soon. Below is the criteria for commercial establishments who must comply with the NYC Composting Laws or face steep fines:
As of July 31, 2020:
Food Service Establishments (such as restaurants, delis, coffee shops, cafeterias, etc.)
- Food Service Establishments having 7,000 to 14,999 square feet
- Chain Food Service Establishments of 2 to 99 NYC locations with combined floor area 8,000 square feet or more
- Food Service Establishments in Hotels having 100 to 149 guest rooms
- Food Service Establishments with a combined floor area 8,000 square feet or more in the same building or location
Retail Food Stores (such as supermarkets and grocery stores)
- Retail food Stores having 10,000 to 24,999 square feet
- Chain Retail Food Stores of 3 or more NYC locations with a combined floor area 10,000 square feet or more
Food Preparation Locations having 6,000 square feet or more
Catering Establishments hosting on-site events to be attended by more than 100 people
Temporary Public Events to be attended by more than 500 people
As of August 15, 2018:
Food Service Establishments
- Food Service Establishments with a floor area of at least 15,000 square feet
- Food Service Establishments that are part of a chain of 100 or more locations in the city of New York
Retail Food Stores with a floor area of at least 25,000 square feet
As of July 19, 2016:
- Food Service Establishments in hotels with 150 or more rooms
- Arenas and Stadiums with a seating capacity of at least 15,000 people
- Food Manufacturers with a floor area of at least 25,000 square feet
- Food Wholesalers with a floor area of at least 20,000 square feet
Read more about our laws:
What Are The Rules That I Have To Follow?
If you are a business that must comply with the NYC Composting Laws, here is what you need to do:
- Must separate staff-handled, back of house food scraps, plant trimmings, food-soiled paper, and certified compostable products from garbage and other recyclables.
- Provide labeled containers for the collection of organic waste in any area where organic waste is handled or set out by employees. “Label” means a display of words.
- Post and maintain signs with instructions on identifying and separating organic waste from garbage and recyclables. The signs must be visible to employees in areas where organic waste is handled.
- Ensure that employees place organic waste in appropriately labeled containers and do not mix organics with garbage or recyclables.
- Ensure that containers for source-separated organic waste are latched at the time of storage or set-out.
- Arrange for organic waste to be transported and/or processed separately from garbage and recycling.
Businesses who have no hired a private sanitation company such as Gaeta Green Environmental Services to handle their organic waste can choose to process their organics onsite.
All processing equipment must be registered with DSNY within 30 days of installation and the registration must be renewed annually. These businesses must also post an official processing decal that will be supplied by DSNY once registration is complete. These businesses must also weigh and measure by volume the amount of organic waste processed. These recorded measurements must be kept for a minimum of three years and made available to DSNY upon request. Any material that is not able to be processed on-site must be transported using one of the other options. You can register for your own processing equipment here: online form.
Businesses can also apply for an Organics Wavier. Under Local Law 146 of 2013, any person who owns or operates two or fewer food service establishments may request a waiver from the DSNY commissioner of the requirements of the commercial organics rules if:
- no single food service establishment has a floor area of at least seven thousand square feet;
- the food service establishment or establishments are individually franchised outlets of a parent business affected by these rules; and
- the owner or operator establishes that the food service establishment or establishments do not receive private carting services through a general carting agreement between a parent business and a private carter.
Businesses can apply for the waiver using this online form.