North Hempstead Town Councilwoman Veronica Lurvey, pictured Tuesday near her...

North Hempstead Town Councilwoman Veronica Lurvey, pictured Tuesday near her home’s garden compost, says the town is taking steps "to become a climate smart community."

Credit: Danielle Silverman

North Hempstead has adopted an organics management plan that aims to reduce food waste in the town, while also lessening the impact of greenhouse gas emissions.

Town council members passed the measure at a board meeting last month, following a state Department of Environmental Conservation law that went into effect last January.

The law requires businesses and institutions that generate an annual average of two tons or more of wasted food per week to donate excess edible food or recycle all remaining food scraps if they are within 25 miles of an organics recycler, where natural materials are converted from organic waste to energy, gas, water and biomass.

The New York State Association for Reduction, Reuse and Recycling provides a map of food scraps drop-off and collection programs on its website.

“There are certain actions that we can take to minimize the risks of climate change and reduce its long-term cost and this is one of the steps that we are taking to become a climate-smart community,” Councilwoman Veronica Lurvey said.

Lurvey said the goal is to create awareness and shift behavior, which she believes will lead to a healthier environment.

“As commercial composting services become available in North Hempstead, I would like to see us continue to play an active role in educating local business and large food generator businesses," she added.

In the United States, 35% of all food goes unsold or uneaten and most of that goes to waste, according to ReFED, a Queens-based national nonprofit dedicated to ending food loss and waste across the country. 

Food that is unsold or uneaten is the number one product entering landfills, according to the nonprofit.  At the landfills, it has the highest potential for generating methane, a greenhouse gas that affects the Earth's temperature and climate system. 

In 2022, North Hempstead accumulated 130,845 tons of waste and 8,172 tons of recyclable items, according to town officials.

As part of the new plan, it will focus on encouraging donation of excess food, along with providing hands-on education and tools for composting and prevention strategies for smart food shopping and repurposing waste, Lurvey said.

On Long Island, up to 30% of waste is compostable, meaning a product or material that can biodegrade under specific, human-driven circumstances, according to the Long Island Organics Council.

“This is a really great proactive approach to the waste issue on Long Island, especially because there is 13 million pounds of garbage daily on the island,” said Judy Greco, a co-director of the council.

Margaret Galbraith, president of Transition Town Port Washington, an organization focused on building a sustainable community, said the town's new plan is a good step forward. She hopes it will lead to a "municipal-wide composting" plan, in which pickups and other composting services are offered.

"We need to feed the Earth, rather than suffocating it," Galbraith said.

North Hempstead has adopted an organics management plan that aims to reduce food waste in the town, while also lessening the impact of greenhouse gas emissions.

Town council members passed the measure at a board meeting last month, following a state Department of Environmental Conservation law that went into effect last January.

The law requires businesses and institutions that generate an annual average of two tons or more of wasted food per week to donate excess edible food or recycle all remaining food scraps if they are within 25 miles of an organics recycler, where natural materials are converted from organic waste to energy, gas, water and biomass.

The New York State Association for Reduction, Reuse and Recycling provides a map of food scraps drop-off and collection programs on its website.

“There are certain actions that we can take to minimize the risks of climate change and reduce its long-term cost and this is one of the steps that we are taking to become a climate-smart community,” Councilwoman Veronica Lurvey said.

Lurvey said the goal is to create awareness and shift behavior, which she believes will lead to a healthier environment.

“As commercial composting services become available in North Hempstead, I would like to see us continue to play an active role in educating local business and large food generator businesses," she added.

In the United States, 35% of all food goes unsold or uneaten and most of that goes to waste, according to ReFED, a Queens-based national nonprofit dedicated to ending food loss and waste across the country. 

Food that is unsold or uneaten is the number one product entering landfills, according to the nonprofit.  At the landfills, it has the highest potential for generating methane, a greenhouse gas that affects the Earth's temperature and climate system. 

In 2022, North Hempstead accumulated 130,845 tons of waste and 8,172 tons of recyclable items, according to town officials.

As part of the new plan, it will focus on encouraging donation of excess food, along with providing hands-on education and tools for composting and prevention strategies for smart food shopping and repurposing waste, Lurvey said.

On Long Island, up to 30% of waste is compostable, meaning a product or material that can biodegrade under specific, human-driven circumstances, according to the Long Island Organics Council.

“This is a really great proactive approach to the waste issue on Long Island, especially because there is 13 million pounds of garbage daily on the island,” said Judy Greco, a co-director of the council.

Margaret Galbraith, president of Transition Town Port Washington, an organization focused on building a sustainable community, said the town's new plan is a good step forward. She hopes it will lead to a "municipal-wide composting" plan, in which pickups and other composting services are offered.

"We need to feed the Earth, rather than suffocating it," Galbraith said.

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