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: Under the NYS Food Donation and Food Scraps Recycling Law, starting January 1, 2022 large food waste generators are required to donate excess food and recycling remaining food scraps.

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, such as those in:

  • restaurants and food service
  • grocery
  • food waste haulers and recyclers
  • communities and institutions

What do we do

NYSP2I collaborates with businesses, municipalities, and community organizations in New York State to identify practical, cost-effective solutions for preventing, donating, and diverting wasted food from landfills. We provide our clients with expertise and guidance in strategy development and implementation, technology assessments, and process improvement.

In addition to field projects, NYSP2I maintains a growing archive of guidance documents, success stories and do-it-yourself tools that are designed to increase your knowledge and aid in your implementation of improvements across the food system.

    How much it costs

    Funding from New York State is available for each project, and can cover a significant subsidy of the total costs associated with wasted food reduction, donation and diversion from landfill.

    Additionally, NYSP2I is currently managing a reimbursement program for New York State businesses or not-for-profits that generate, haul or recycle large amounts of food waste to offset the cost of select technologies and equipment that promise to reduce or divert that food waste from landfill or incineration.

    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

    What services do we offer?


    Food waste assessments and solutions for source reduction


    Guidance on improved food-recovery and food-waste management practices


     Food waste strategy development and implementation


     Technology assessments and validation

    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.


    Organic Resource Locator (ORL)

    An interactive online map that displays producers, processors, and users of food waste across New York State. It connects producers of organics with those who have a use for them, preventing a valuable resource from being wasted our landfills.


    Food Waste Self-Assessment Toolkits

    Useful templates, including a best practices guide, a log sheet, and an analysis worksheet, that supplement the Food Waste Self-Assessment How-to Guide. There is a toolkit available for each of the main industry groups: grocery, restaurants and food service, and healthcare.


    Food Waste Estimator

    An interactive tool that can estimate how much food waste your business might be generating based on data from similar businesses.


    Community Food Waste Resources

    A collection of local government-focused resources for developing and implementing community food waste programs.

    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.