ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — About $2 million in grant funding is available for municipalities in New York State to help establish or expand food scrap recycling programs and facilities. The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) made the announcement at the Radix Ecological Sustainability Center in Albany.

“Food scrap recycling infrastructure is critical to achieve New York’s waste diversion goals and these grants help ensure equitable access to this new funding opportunity,” said Commissioner Basil Seggos. “Composting can help protect our shared environment by diverting food waste to help reduce our dependence on landfills, protect the planet from harmful methane emissions, and recycle organic nutrients back into the soil to grow healthy food.”

The DEC said the first $1 million in grants will prioritize eligible projects that dedicate at least half of the funding to serving Environmental Justice communities. Albany previously received a $225,000 Food Waste Reduction grant in 2019.

“Funding waste diversion programs in an equitable way allows for increased participation in sustainable practices and provides nourishment to those with food insecurities. The benefits to our environment include reducing dependence on landfills and combustors and helping lower climate-altering emissions while producing valuable, nutrient-rich compost that improves soil health and water quality,” said Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan.

Earlier this year, the state implemented the Food Donation and Food Scraps Recycling Law, which requires businesses and institutions that generate an annual average of two tons of wasted food per week or more to donate excess edible food and recycle all remaining food scraps if they are within 25 miles of an organics recycler. According to the DEC, about 1,150 businesses across the state are required to donate, with 320 businesses also required to recycle their food scraps.

This new funding is supported by the New York State Environmental Protection Fund. Municipalities must submit an application on the DEC website to qualify for the food scrap recycling grants.