Food Waste Recovery

Why is this important?

Food waste prevention and recovery can work to improve the environmental sustainability and economics of our food system all while reducing food insecurity. Food access programs and food waste generators can simultaneously alleviate food insecurity while also reducing the amount of food directed to landfills. As an estimated 14.2% of St. Lawrence Country residents experience food insecurity, 7.8 billion pounds of food goes wasted in New York State annually. Food waste recovery can lower the costs businesses, institutions, and food access programs initially spend on food and its disposal while also lowering business costs and greenhouse gas emissions. 

What is NYS doing?

The NYS Food Donation and Food Scraps Recycling Law (January 2022) requires large generators of food scraps to separate edible and inedible food for donation or recycling. The law applies to restaurants, grocery stores, colleges & universities, hotels & motels, etc. that produce more than 2 tons of wasted food and food scraps per week on average.

Who Does This Impact?

  1. Designated Food Scrap Generators (DFSG)

DFSG’s are businesses and institutions are responsible for redirecting their edible and inedible food waste to local food access programs or organic recyclers. DFSG’s have to establish a relationship with local food access programs in order to organize a food donation program for their edible food waste. If an organic recycler with the capacity to recycle food waste for a DFSG is located within 25 miles, DFSG’s may also setup recycling to redirect their excess food waste away from landfills.

  1. Food Access Programs

Food access programs, such as food pantries, community meals, or backpack programs, have the ability to receive regular food donations from DFSG’s. To find a food pantry, community meal, or backpack program to donate to in SLC, go to GardenShare’s Food Guide for a comprehensive list.

  1. Individuals: We are all responsible for addressing food waste recovery!

Managing your food waste generation at the individual level may involve donating your edible food waste to local food access programs, off-loading your inedible food scraps to a community compost site, or getting creative with your preparation and storage of perishable foods.

Establishing a Relationship with Food Access Programs

The following questions may act as a guideline for establishing a relationship with food access programs looking for food donations on a regular basis. If you are looking for a food pantry, community meal, or backpack program to donate to in SLC, visit GardenShare’s Food Guide.

Suggested Questions

– How do I donate? – Where do I donate? – When can I donate? – How much can I donate? – Can you pick up donations?
– What can I donate? (ex. bulk, single-serving, fresh, refrigerated, dry/non-perishable goods, frozen)
– What can I not donate? (ex. baby formula, special diet foods, expired/near expiration, opened) Do you accept non-food items?

How to Recycle Inedible Food Waste & Resources for Food Recycling in SLC

What are food scraps?
Inedible food, food trimmings leftover from preparation, and edible food that is not donated (

What are the different types of food waste recycling?
– Composting: Controlled composition of organic materials, such as food scraps, that can be used as fertilizer
– Animal Feed: Supplying food scraps to supplement feed for animals (
– Anaerobic Digestion: a process in which bacteria decompose food scraps in the absence of oxygen (commercial operations currently unavailable in SLC as of 2022)

Community Compost Sites in SLC

– Canton Community Compost: Next to the Recreation Pavilion on Lincoln St, Canton, NY

Organic Recyclers in SLC
Links to Food Waste Recovery Information

NYS DEC Page on Food Donation and Food Scraps Recycling
NYS DEC Guidance on Starting a Food Donation Program
NYS DEC NYS Food Donation & Food Scraps Recycling Law: What NYS Businesses Need to Know
US EPA Sustainable Food Waste Management
ReFED Insight Engine: A data and solutions hub for food loss and waste
NYS Food Waste Recovery Facts