Food Waste Diversion

Every year, 63 million tons of food go to waste in the United States—that means 40% of all food that’s produced is thrown away. The New York State Pollution Prevention Institute (NYSP2I) connects businesses, municipalities, and communities across New York State with the funding, expertise, and practical tools they need to manage food waste.

A pile of food waste, including the peels and scraps of a variety of fruits and vegetables.

Every year, 63 million tons of food go to waste in the United States—that means 40% of all food that’s produced is thrown away.

The New York State Pollution Prevention Institute (NYSP2I) connects businesses, municipalities, and communities across New York State with the funding, expertise, and practical tools they need to manage food waste.

Why it matters

  • It’s expensive: Food waste costs U.S. businesses nearly $59 billion annually.
  • It’s unnecessary: One-third of all food produced globally never gets eaten.
  • It’s a missed opportunity: Organic waste is a valuable resource that could fuel a more sustainable, circular economy.
  • It’s the law: In 2022, New York will become the sixth US state to mandate food waste diversion.

Who is eligible

Our services are available to any New York State-registered business or organization that generates or manages food waste in its activities. Clients in the following sectors may gain the most value from our work:

  • food production, processing, and manufacturing
  • grocery
  • food waste hauling
  • K-12 education
  • municipalities

What do we do

NYSP2I collaborates with businesses, municipalities, and community organizations in New York State to identify practical, cost-effective solutions for diverting, preventing, and managing food waste.

We aim to give our partners across the Empire State the tools and resources they need to solve problems associated with food waste and to build a more sustainable food system.

We provide our clients with expertise in the following focus areas:

  • pathway utilization to improve cost efficiencies
  • technology assessment and validation
  • process-effectiveness and -efficiency studies
  • sustainability strategy development and implementation
  • environmental impact evaluation

How much it costs

NYSP2I’s food-waste reduction management consultations are available at minimal cost, thanks to funding provided by the Environmental Protection Fund as administered by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

In addition to subsidizing the cost of our services, we offer many opportunities for securing focused funding for a food-waste management project. Learn more below.

What services do we offer?

NYSP2I works closely with our partners to design a food sustainability program that is informed by their unique needs, process, and organization. We help our clients to set realistic goals and we provide them with the tools and resources they need to achieve them. Many of our projects begin with an assessment. Each is designed to include any or all of the following focus areas:

  • food processing
  • food profitability
  • energy and water efficiency
  • food by-products and waste-to-energy conversion

Our technical team brings together diverse skillsets and research interests. Our core expertise areas include the following:

  • food waste reduction planning through improved pathway utilization
  • environmental footprint evaluation of process facilities
  • technology validation and effectiveness assessment
  • supply-chain sustainability analysis and enhanced strategy implementation

The Food Waste Reduction and Diversion Reimbursement Program incentivizes businesses, municipalities, and nonprofits that generate large amounts of food waste to implement sustainable food systems. The program does this by offsetting the cost of select technologies and equipment that will reduce or divert that food waste from going to a landfill or being incinerated.

Learn More about the Food waste reduction and diversion reimbursement program

A successful food system sustainability plan is powered by the people who make it happen. If those stakeholders don’t understand its purpose and how they will support it, then cultivating lasting change will be difficult. To help our clients ensure that their plans to reduce waste and be more efficient flourish, we offer educational opportunities through:

  • workshops
  • on-site workforce training
  • published studies, academic reports, and white papers

In addition to field projects, NYSP2I maintains a growing archive of do-it-yourself tools that are designed to make taking the first steps towards food system sustainability simple.

Food-waste estimator tool

Curious about the role of food waste within your organization? The NYSP2I food-waste estimator tool is a smart first step towards understanding its impact.

Organic-resource locator tool

Organic materials make up the largest component of solid waste in the United States. However, this waste stream—which is largely food—holds immense potential as a sustainable resource. Our goal is make it easier for those who produce organic material waste to find the businesses and other entities that are pioneering new uses of organic waste as energy, compost, and animal feed. To do this, we created an organic-resource locator tool as a tool for diverting organic waste away from landfills while promoting economic development and encouraging green technological innovation.

NYSP2I is a partnership between the State of New York and a consortia of universities across the state. Working together, we are funding groundbreaking research into new technologies and approaches to mitigating food waste to discover and grow a sustainable food system that benefits our economy and communities.

Food-waste research focus areas

  • low-volume digesters
  • pure food-waste digestion
  • food-waste pretreatment methods
  • optimizing food-waste disposal pathways

Educational Resources

Part of our mission at NYSP2I is to provide free resources that educate, inform you of best practices, or make a process easier. Take a look at our top resources to see how these can help you get started.

View Resources

Why work with us?

Tackling food waste can yield many benefits for businesses, nonprofits, and municipal institutions who produce, prepare, or sell large amounts of food. Working with our team can help your organization to save money and resources.

We work with clients to achieve practical results, which may include

  • customized plans for managing food waste generation
  • methods and practices for producing or preparing food more efficiently
  • improved production processes to achieve better resource efficiency
  • educated staff members and stakeholders who can support food system sustainability goals
  • measurable goals that can support an overall commitment to sustainability