Commercial Organics Requirements

August 2, 2022

Certain New York City establishments are required by law to separate their organic waste. If your business meets the minimum requirements outlined below, you must comply with the Commercial Organics Rules by the date shown.

Since 2016, the commissioner must evaluate annually the cost and regional processing capacity for organic waste by composting, aerobic or anaerobic digestion, or any other method of processing organic waste that the department approves by rule. If the commissioner determines that there is sufficient capacity, he or she shall designate all covered establishments required to source separate their organic waste. All such designated covered establishments must comply with the requirements beginning no later than six months following such designation.

Learn more from DSNY here.


Food Service Establishments (such as restaurants, delis, coffee shops, cafeterias, etc.)

  • Food Service Establishments having 7,000 to 14,999 square feet
  • Chain Food Service Establishments of 2 to 99 NYC locations with combined floor area 8,000 square feet or more
  • Food Service Establishments in Hotels having 100 to 149 guest rooms
  • Food Service Establishments with combined floor area 8,000 square feet or more in the same building or location

Retail Food Stores (such as supermarkets and grocery stores)

  • Retail food Stores having 10,000 to 24,999 square feet
  • Chain Retail Food Stores of 3 or more NYC locations with combined floor area 10,000 square feet or more

Food Preparation Locations having 6,000 square feet or more
Catering Establishments hosting on-site events to be attended by more than 100 people
Temporary Public Events to be attended by more than 500 people


What to Separate

Businesses covered by these rules must separate staff-handled, back of house food scraps, plant trimmings, food-soiled paper and certified compostable products from garbage and other recyclables.

Important: Businesses should contact their carter or processor to confirm whether they collect compostable products and they meet their specifications.

How to Comply and Avoid Violations

  • Provide labeled containers for the collection of organic waste in any area 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 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.

Important: Download sample signs, labels and other educational materials, here.


Transportation & Processing Options

Businesses are given the option to arrange for collection by a private carter, transport organic waste themselves, or process the material on-site. Suitable processing methods include composting and aerobic/anaerobic digestion. 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 set-out must meet carter specifications and have a latching lid that is securely fastened at the time of set-out. Learn more about hiring a private carter.

Important: To learn which private carters are collecting organic waste, please visit the NYC Business Integrity Commission’s website.

  • Self-Transport: Businesses choosing to haul their own source-separated organics must first register with the NYC Business Integrity Commission (BIC) and post an official BIC decal. Organics must be transported separately from garbage and recycling directly to a processor or transfer station. The agreement with the processor or transfer station must be made available to us 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 at 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 will be supplied by DSNY. These businesses must also weigh and measure by volume the amount of organic waste processed. These recorded measurements must be kept for a minimum of three years and made available to DSNY upon request. Any material that is not able to be processed on-site must be transported using one of the other options.

Organics Waiver

Under Local Law 146 of 2013, any person who owns or operates two or fewer food service establishments may request a waiver from the DSNY commissioner of the requirements of the commercial organics rules if:

  • no single food service establishment has a floor area of at least seven thousand 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 the waiver using the online form.


Hudson Square

Subscribe to our Newsletter