Commercial Organics Requirements

Certain New York City businesses are required under Local Law 146 of 2013 to separate their organic waste (food scraps, food-soiled paper, and plant waste).

If your business meets the minimum requirements outlined below, you must comply with the NYC Commercial Organics Rules.

Food Services

These rules apply to restaurants, delis, coffee shops, and cafeterias if they:

  • Occupy a floor area of at least 7,000 square feet, or, when combined with all food services in the same building or location, at least 8,000 square feet
  • Are part of a chain with two or more NYC locations with a combined floor area of at least 8,000 square feet
  • Are located within a hotel that has at least 100 guest rooms

Retail Food Stores

These rules apply to supermarkets and grocery stores if they:

  • Occupy at least 10,000 square feet
  • Are part of a chain with three or more NYC locations with combined floor area of at least 10,000 square feet

Other Businesses

  • Food preparation locations that occupy at least 6,000 square feet
  • Catering establishments that host events attended by more than 100 people
  • Temporary public events that are attended by more than 500 people
  • Arenas and stadiums with a seating capacity of at least 15,000 people
  • Food manufacturers that occupy a floor area of at least 25,000 square feet
  • Food wholesalers that occupy a floor area of at least 20,000 square feet

What to Separate

Businesses covered by the NYC Commercial Organics Rules must separate staff-handled, back of house organic waste. This includes:

  • Food scraps
  • Food-soiled paper
  • Certified compostable products (should meet carter or processor specifications)

How to Avoid Violations

  • Provide labeled containers for the collection of organic waste in all areas where organic waste is handled or set out by employees ("label" means a display of words).
  • Post and maintain signs with instructions on identifying and separating organic waste from garbage and recyclables. The signs must be visible to employees in all areas where organic waste is handled.
  • Ensure that employees place organic waste in appropriately labeled containers and do not mix organics with garbage or recyclables.
  • Ensure that containers for source-separated organic waste are latched at the time of storage or set-out.
  • Arrange for organic waste to be transported and/or processed separately from garbage and recycling.

Download sample signs, labels, and other educational materials.

How to Arrange for Transportation or Processing

Businesses are given the option to arrange for collection by a private carter, transport organic waste themselves, or process the material on-site through in-vessel composting.

A food waste grinder is not permitted.

Private Carter

Businesses that hire a private carter to collect their organic waste must post an official Business Integrity Commission (BIC) decal. Containers for setout must meet carter specifications and have a latching lid that is securely fastened at the time of setout. Learn more about hiring a private carter.

Visit the BIC website to learn which private carters are collecting organic waste.


Businesses choosing to haul their own organic waste must first register with BIC and post an official decal.

Organics must be transported separately from trash and recycling directly to a processor or transfer station.

The agreement with the processor or transfer station must be made available to DSNY upon request.

On-Site Processing

Businesses covered by the Commercial Organics Rules that choose to process on-site must do so through in-vessel composting, or any processing method approved by DSNY rule, that does not discharge food waste into sewers. All such equipment must be registered with DSNY within 30 days of installation and renewed annually using the online commercial organics on-site processing registration form below.

For those businesses which currently have installed an aerobic or anaerobic digestion system, all such processing equipment must ALREADY be registered with DSNY, and the registration must be renewed annually.

These businesses must:

  • Post an official processing decal that is supplied by DSNY
  • Weigh and measure by volume the amount of organic waste processed and retain these records for at least three years to make available to DSNY upon request
  • Transport any material that is not able to be processed on-site using one of the other options.

Apply for a commercial organics on-site processing registration.

NOTE: Effective September 25, 2021, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) PROHIBITS the use of devices that break down food waste by whatever means for the purpose of discharging it into the sewer system, including but not limited to food waste liquefiers. Liquefiers that, by such date, are already registered with DSNY, connected to a grease interceptor, or appear on engineering plans approved by DEP, may only be replaced at the end of its useful life with on-site processing methods that do not discharge food waste into the sewer system.

Learn more about updates to the Food Waste Liquefiers Rules.

Organics Waivers

Any person who owns or operates two or fewer food service businesses may request a waiver of the requirements of the NYC Commercial Organics Rules if:

  • No single food service establishment occupies a floor area of at least 7,000 square feet;
  • The food service establishment or establishments are individually franchised outlets of a parent business affected by these rules; and
  • The owner or operator establishes that the food service establishment or establishments do not receive private carting services through a general carting agreement between a parent business and private carter.

Apply for a commercial organics waiver.

Additional Resources