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Brief Published: 8 May 2013

New York Restaurants Cut Food Waste


More than 100 New York restaurants have vowed to cut food waste sent to landfill sites by 50%, according to a speech made by the city's mayor Michael Bloomberg.

The move, announced by Bloomberg at the New York Times' Energy for Tomorrow Conference at the end of April, is part of a new programme called the Food Waste Challenge, which aims to divert 75% of waste sent to landfill sites by 2030. According to statistics referenced by Bloomberg, food waste comprises a third of the city's daily waste, and restaurants account for 70% of commercial food waste. The scheme is part of PlanNYC – a 2007 citywide initiative that aims to cut waste, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fight climate change by 2030.

Participating restaurants include eateries such as fine dining French restaurant Le Bernardin and Momofuku Noodle Bar, as well as chains such as Chipotle and Pret a Manger. The restaurants will increase their composting and recycling efforts and monitor food waste in order to fulfil the pledge. The city has already reduced waste sent to landfills by 38% in some Manhattan and Brooklyn schools as part of a pilot programme. Bloomberg announced the scheme would be rolled out in all of New York's schools in the next two years.

The Mayor also announced the launch of Gardens for Healthy Communities – a new plan to convert nine acres of underused city-owned land into 20 local gardening projects. 

According to a 2012 Eco Pulse survey from US marketing agency Shelton Group, 39% of Americans reportedly feel guilty about throwing away food. Read more about this and other food trends in Global Food & Health Trends 2013-14.