The County Department of Environmental Facilities (DEF) has been actively working to develop ways to reduce the amount of food waste within Westchester. Of key importance is the donation of excess edible food to those suffering from food insecurity or need. The Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act provides that a person “shall not be subject to civil or criminal liability arising from the nature, age, packaging, or condition of apparently wholesome food or an apparently fit grocery product that the person or gleaner donates in good faith to a non-profit organization for ultimate distribution to needy individuals.” The Long Island based Rock and Wrap It Up!, Inc. collects edible prepared food from events and entertainment venues for redistribution, while the Food Bank for Westchester collects non-perishable items for those in need. DEF also suggests that individuals with excess prepared food or usable perishables contact local shelters and food pantries, which will often be able to accept these items

DEF has developed a short and mid-term plan for food scraps in the County, and is reviewing long-term options for food waste recycling. The County’s Food Waste Study can be downloaded for review.

RFSTAD Program
In Fall 2020, the District created the Residential Food Scrap Transportation and Disposal (RFSTAD) Program. The District saw the need to establish a program that would ease the financial burden for local municipalities in connect with local food scrap programs, and recognized that the transportation to and disposal of food scraps constituted the largest barrier to these programs in many communities. The County has established RFSTAD to assist these municipalities seeking to start or maintain food scrap programs. Under RFSTAD, District municipalities pay a subsidized rate for the transportation and disposal of food scraps collected by the municipality either through drop-off or curbside collections. This subsidized rate makes the processing of food scraps cost neutral or provides a cost savings when compared with municipal costs to process municipal solid waste. RFSTAD also allows for the bulking of food scraps with a goal of reducing greenhouse gasses created during the transportation of the food scraps to an organics recycler.

Additionally, DEF is developing a small-scale composting and education facility, CompostEd, adjacent to the H-MRF. CompostEd will compost up to two tons of food scraps per week, and offer educational tours on the benefits of composting, backyard composting, and how municipalities can incorporate food scrap composting into existing yard waste composting programs.

For more information, or to see our progress, follow us on Facebook or contact us.