May 13, 2021 By Ryan Songalia
A bill that would require the Department of Education to develop and implement a food waste prevention plan was unanimously passed by the city council on Wednesday.
The legislation, sponsored by Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer, aims to reduce the amount of food that is wasted at public schools—which serve more than a million meals a day to students.
The bill calls on the DOE to come up with a plan to cut waste.
“Food waste prevention plans will help cut the amount of excess food our schools and city sends to landfills, finding ways to instead donate, compost, and reduce surplus,” Van Bramer said.
Van Bramer says the excess food should be diverted to food kitchens or be composted.
In the past year, a great deal of food was provided to those in need during the pandemic. Still, a significant amount of food was wasted, Van Bramer said.
He cites a report that found that the DOE wasted more than $800,000 in June 2020 that had been warehoused.
The bill, which passed by a 47-0 vote, drew praise from the leader of Queens Together, an Astoria-based group that has been providing food to people in need throughout the pandemic.
“Queens Together strongly supports reducing food waste at the DOE and creating systems that will redirect unused meals into the hands of communities facing food and economic insecurity,” said Jonathan Forgash, the organization’s executive director.
“This is a win win win.”