Organics Council

Interest in organics diversion has grown tremendously over the past few years. With over 80 people involved in the Organics Council activities, the Council relies on five working groups to spearhead activities that work towards keeping organics such as food scraps, leaves and yard waste out of landfills. See below for more about these working groups. The Council continues to grow and expand its efforts towards supporting this important initiative across the state. In March 2015, a Community-Based Composting Summit with over 100 participants took place, connecting small to medium scale composters throughout New York State (NYS). In addition, the Council participates in ongoing organics diversion discussions throughout NYS, including participation in state meetings on proposed organics diversion strategies and development of NYSAR3’s legislative support memo on organics diversion policies and procedures.

About the Organics Council

The Organics Recycling and Composting Council is a NYSAR3 group comprised of individuals who share a common interest to promote the importance of recovering edible food and diverting food scraps, yard trimmings, manure, and other organics from the waste stream through sustainable best practices, innovative policies and educational programs. It is currently comprised of five working groups including Education & Events, End Products & Marketing, Food Recovery, Infrastructure Development & Support, and Legislative.

Chair: Jesse Kerns, SU-CSCS/EFC (

Working Groups

Education & Outreach: Provides statewide information and guidance through outreach, education, and training on organics materials reduction, reuse/recovery, composting and anaerobic digestion opportunities and activities that will improve the environment.

Chair: Jesse Kerns, SU-CSCS/EFC

End Products & Marketing: Seeks to expand and educate on the end market use of stable organic residuals in New York State. Areas of focus include NYS Department of Transportation and NYS Thruway Specifications for use of compost, reviewing standards and labeling, and working with municipalities to utilize the finished product.

Chair: Athena Lee Bradley, NERC

Food Recovery: Supports and highlights successful strategies for reducing wasted food and promoting food donation by encouraging changes in behavior through education, practical tools, and information on starting or enhancing donation efforts.

Co-chairs: Gary Feinland, DEC and Pat Golden, NYS Assembly

Infrastructure Development & Support: Acts as an information clearinghouse for infrastructure related issues and opportunities for organics diversion. In an effort to better understand the major barriers to collecting organic materials throughout the state, as well as to identify potential solutions, the working group has developed a benchmarking survey for waste haulers around the state.

Chair: Greg McCarron, SCS Engineers

Legislative: Supports organics diversion across the state by monitoring, promoting, supporting, and furthering legislative initiatives related to organics.

Chair: Kendall Christiansen, Gaia Strategies

Resources & Links of Interest: