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Organic wastes are a significant portion of the municipal solid waste (MSW) stream. U.S. EPA has estimated that in 2011 the organics components of MSW were:

  • Paper and paperboard (28 percent of total MSW)
  • Food scraps (14.5 percent of total MSW)
  • Yard trimmings (13.5 percent of total MSW)

The food waste component, in particular, presents unique management challenges for state and local governments. There are significant opportunities to promote waste reduction and increase diversion of these materials from disposal in landfills and incinerators. The technologies for converting these wastes to energy through anaerobic digestion (AD) are rapidly improving, and there is growing interest in expanding composting capacity in the northeast. State environmental agencies in the region have begun to receive applications for new AD and composting operations. The agencies are also working with local governments and waste haulers to address challenges with food waste and other organic waste collection and storage.

In 2013, NEWMOA formed a Food Waste Workgroup to create a forum for interstate collaboration and information sharing regarding efforts to promote food waste reduction, use of food waste to help feed people and animals, siting and permitting of composting and AD facilities, and other regulatory and policy issues and challenges. The Food Waste Workgroup:

  • Supports regional discussion of emerging food waste issues and state regulatory and policy developments
  • Coordinates and holds information-sharing and training events to address policy, regulatory, and technical challenges
  • Conducts research and analysis
  • Provides support for state program implementation
  • Assists state programs with specific projects

NEWMOA's Workgroup prepared a summary of available Food Waste Calculators that it periodically updates as new calculators become available.

NEWMOA is an endorser of EPA's Food Recovery Challenge Program and supports EPA's Food Recovery Hierarchy.

For more information, contact Terri Goldberg at .



Last Modified 04/04/2016

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