New York City boasts approximately 24,000 restaurants. While that makes it one of the most exciting food cities in the world, it also means that the amount of food that's thrown out reaches epic proportions. The waste comes not just from diners' plates but from prep work as well. Often, what could be composted is simply dumped. But that may all change—soon, NYC restaurants may be required to compost.
In an effort to minimize waste, the city's Department of Sanitation will make a decision July 1 on whether restaurants, hotels and grocery stores will be required to get rid of organic waste with composting bins. According to Crain's, the city collected more than 6,700 tons of organic materials in just 6 months from its already existing residential and school composting programs. The challenge to include restaurants and hotels would be the access of processing facilities within the New York metro region. Right now, there are nine facilities that can handle 100,000 tons of food waste a year; including restaurants would put a strain on New York’s current capacity. Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia told Crain's: "We're still running through the data, but it's based on how much [food waste] the different industries generate, how close they are to one another—so we try to eliminate any increase in truck traffic—and then, again, it's also about capacity." If New York does follow through, it will join cities like San Francisco and Seattle, which already mandate that restaurants stay green with their food waste.