Source Separation and Handling Requirements for Commercial Organic Waste

Adopted Rules: Closed to Comments

Effective Date: 
Monday, January 18, 2016
Download Copy of Adopted Rule (.pdf): 


Statement of Basis and Purpose of Final Rule




Organic waste makes up approximately one-third of the waste generated by food-generating businesses in New York City.  This material can be converted into soil enhancing compost, or used as an energy source in aerobic and anaerobic digesters, but most of it is currently disposed of in landfills outside the City.  Under Local Law 146 of 2013, codified in §16-306.1 of the New York City Administrative Code, the Sanitation Commissioner must evaluate, at least annually beginning July 1, 2015, whether there exists sufficient regional organics waste processing capacity to require that certain food-generating businesses in the City, or a sub-set of them, arrange with their private carters to engage in alternative methods for handling organic waste separated by the businesses.  These methods include in-vessel composting, aerobic or anaerobic digestion, or any other method for processing organic waste approved by DSNY rule.  The Department of Environmental Protection may separately promulgate additional rules regulating the use of onsite aerobic and anaerobic digestion equipment.  These rules may include, among other requirements, standards for types of equipment that may be installed. 




Following site visits and surveys of active private organics waste processing facilities in the region and an evaluation of organic waste quantities generated by various food industry sectors in the city, DSNY identifies that there is organics processing capacity available to a limited extent, and will require a subset of food-generating businesses in the city to separate their organic waste for collection and handling by their private carters.  A designated covered establishment may also donate food that would otherwise be thrown away to a third party, such as a charity, sell or donate the food to a farmer for feedstock, or sell or donate meat by-products to a rendering company.  Food disposed of through such donations or sales is not within the meaning of “organic waste” under these rules.




The rules do the following:




·       Amend §1-01 by adding new definitions to effectuate the purpose of the rules;


·       Provide that the following types of establishments will be “designated covered establishments” and must comply with the requirements set forth in the rules:


o   Any arena or stadium that has a seating capacity of at least 15,000


o   Any food service establishment that is located in a hotel with at least 150 sleeping rooms, is under common control with such hotel, and receives waste collection from the same private carter as such hotel


o   Any food manufacturer that has a floor area of at least 25,000 square feet


o   Any food wholesaler that has a floor area of at least 20,000 square feet


·       Require designated covered establishments to source separate their organic waste and arrange for proper processing of this material through collection by a private carter licensed by the New York City Business Integrity Commission (BIC), or alternatively, by registering with BIC and transporting their own organic waste for proper processing;


·       Allow covered establishments to separately donate their organic waste to a third party, donate or sell organic waste to a farmer for feedstock, and donate or sell meat by-products to a rendering company; 


·       Prohibit the commingling of organic waste with designated recyclable material or solid waste;


·       Require the storage and set-out at the curb of organic waste in one or more containers that have a lid and latch, which must be closed and latched when they are set out for collection by a private carter;


·       Require designated covered establishment to post signs identifying their private carters that will collected source separate organic waste;


·       Set forth requirements for designated covered establishments that choose to process their organic waste on-site;


·       Require designated covered establishments to post instructions for their employees on how to properly source separate organic waste;   


·       Set forth reporting responsibilities of operators of putrescible solid waste transfer stations authorized by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to receive source-separated organic waste; and


·       Provide for the enforcement of such rules in accordance with the New York City Administrative Code.






DSNY’s authority for these rules is found in sections 753 and 1043(a) of the New York City Charter and section 16-306.1 of the New York City Administrative Code.