Diverting New York’s food waste from landfills could produce a benefit of $22 million (£17.78m) each year.
That’s according to a new report from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), which outlines the advantages of changing current disposal practices to a system of donating edible food and organically recycling non-edible scraps.
The report supports Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s proposed rule that large generators of food waste within 50 miles of a suitable waste management would have to do this instead of using landfills.
Currently, around four million tonnes of excess food are generated annually in New York State. More than 97% of this is landfilled or burned, increasing emissions of harmful methane gases.
The report found if food scraps were recycled or sent to anaerobic digestion plants, large food waste generators could reduce costs and greenhouse gas emissions by 175,448 tonnes each year, the equivalent of taking 37,093 cars off the road.
This would help the state reduce its greenhouse gas emissions 40% by 2030.
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner, Basil Seggos, said: “As this report finds, diverting food waste from landfills stands to benefit all New Yorkers by putting good food to good use at area food banks, reducing the greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change and saving resources.”