DSNY’s Foundation for New York’s Strongest Launches First Microgrant Program for Food Waste Reduction

DSNY Food Waste Microgrant Program

The NYC Department of Sanitation’s Foundation for New York’s Strongest today announced the launch of a Microgrant Program for city businesses looking to address food waste in their operations. The grants, worth up to $15,000, aim to help New York City businesses prevent, recycle or recover their food waste. 

The Foundation’s Microgrant Program will provide support for city businesses taking action to address food waste. Proposals will be accepted from businesses that are working towards food waste prevention, recovery and recycling solutions already, or wish to get started. The Foundation will award grants of up to $2,000, plus technical advisory and other goods and services, to businesses that can demonstrate a need for support and a viable implementation plan. Businesses may partner together to submit companion applications which, in total, may receive up to $5,000.

Through a technical advisory partnership with New York State, as well as matching funds and donations of supplies, equipment and in kind support, the Foundation will be able to offer grant packages valued at up to $15,000 per grantee.

The Microgrant Program is the first of its kind for the Foundation, exemplifying the organization’s goal to develop and recognize diverse business types demonstrating best management practices to the larger NYC business community. The Microgrant Program is a result of the successful NYC Food Waste Fair, an educational event held earlier this year by the Foundation  with a focus on helping City businesses prevent, recycle, or recover the more than 650,000 tons of food waste that they throw away each year.

For more information on the Microgrant Program, and to apply, visit foodwastefair.nyc.   

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“Taking even small steps towards food waste reduction, surplus food recovery and organics diversion can have a big impact on the way we all view food and manage waste,” said Elizabeth Balkan, Executive Director, Foundation for New York’s Strongest. “Through the Microgrant Program, the Foundation for New York’s Strongest is committed to supporting NYC businesses who exemplify environmental and social leadership, and we eagerly await the opportunity to work with our grantees to continue making progress in the fight against food waste.”

“We need all hands on deck to achieve zero waste to landfills by 2030, including our commercial partners, big and small,” said Kathryn Garcia, NYC Department of Sanitation Commissioner. “The NYC Food Waste Fair was proof of the significant interest our smaller businesses have in reducing food waste in their operations, and the Microgrant Program picks up where it left off, with the Foundation for New York’s Strongest providing direct support to businesses answering the call to action.”

“Private carters and businesses alike will have to work together to reach the City’s “0 by 30 goal,” said Daniel Brownell, Commissioner, Business Integrity Commission. “BIC is proud to be a member of the Microgrant Program, which will encourage businesses to divert organic waste from our waste stream.”

“Engaging New Yorkers in the effort to fight climate change is fundamental to our city’s future, and dramatically cutting food waste is a critical part of that work,” said Mark Chambers, Director of the NYC Mayor’s Office of Sustainability. “We are proud to support the NYC Department of Sanitation as they launch this Microgrant Program to provide NYC small businesses with the resources and information necessary to tackle food waste at the source.”

“As an organization dedicated to reducing U.S. food waste at scale, ReFED is thrilled by the innovation and momentum that continues to build in New York City,” said Chris Cochran, Executive Director, ReFED. “We’ve been proud to partner with the Foundation for New York’s Strongest to promote this trend, and are excited to collaborate on the Microgrant Program. By helping businesses to prioritize food waste reduction in New York City, the Program will serve as a replicable model, bolstering ReFED’s ongoing efforts to accelerate the implementation of food waste solutions nationwide.”

“As NYC works to get closer to its Zero Waste by 2030 goal it’s critical that we help businesses and organizations divert more and waste less,” commented Sarah Currie-Halpern, Co-Founder and Partner of Think Zero LLC. “I am so pleased that DSNY is launching this Microgrant Program as I think it will go a long way in helping businesses get on the Zero Waste program. I’m excited to be a part of it!”

“It is so vitally important to address food waste as part of a company’s operations in order to build businesses that are truly sustainable. At Transfernation, we make the conservation and redistribution of extra food an integral part of our clients operating processes. These initiatives, when adopted early, and as part of a company’s business model, allow for sustainable, environmentally-friendly growth,” said Hannah Dehradunwala, Co-Founder & CEO of Transfernation. “I believe that the Microgrant Program is a perfect example of an initiative that challenges local businesses to discover the long and short term benefits that come from marrying sustainability and business.”

“These Microgrants and the Advisory Committee are crucial for organizations to align themselves with the Zero Waste goals of New York. These forward-thinking initiatives by the Commissioner prove the Circular Economy is a growing trend and here to stay,” said Camilo A Ferro, Managing Partner, Renew Packaging.

“As a sustainability-minded restaurant owner, the question for me is never one of intent, but resources. Sometimes even small operational shifts are challenging financially and logistically, given the many demands facing NYC businesses,” said Evan Franca, Business Development, Food Future Co. “The Foundation for New York’s Strongest Microgrant Program, by giving businesses access to critical tools and funding to put food waste prevention, food recovery and recycling solutions, is bridging the gap between intention and action, incentivizing action and innovation. I am thrilled to be a part of this critical effort.”

“The Foundation for New York’s Strongest Microgrant Program is a great example of DSNY’s continue support of the many New Yorkers working at the local level to make New York City greener and cleaner,” said Ron Gonen, Co-Founder & CEO of Closed Loop Fund.

“At Rescuing Leftover Cuisine, we help match supply and demand for edible surplus food. But we can only reach so many, and so we’re thrilled that there is now an incentive program to help more businesses in New York City strengthen and scale their donation programs. We congratulate the Foundation for this initiative and look forward to continuing our partnership,” said Robert Lee, Founder, Rescuing Leftover Cuisine.

“RTS is proud to support DSNY and New York City in their zero waste mission and partner with the Foundation for New York’s Strongest to provide resources and support to businesses taking steps to reduce food waste,” said Gregory Lettieri, Co-Founder and CEO, Recycle Track Systems.

“Many sustainable practices start not with changing the way do things, but in changing the way we think, about doing things,” said Dan Martens, Vice President of North America at Novamont. “Congratulations to the Foundation for New York’s Strongest for taking on this important work to set about and support systems change.

“The New York State Pollution Prevention Institute has committed, through its Sustainable Food Program, to assist food related businesses in reducing and diverting their food waste,” said Chuck Ruffing, Director, New York State Pollution Prevention Institute. Our partnership with the Foundation for New York’s Strongest Microgrant program will provide critical additional support to Microgrant awardees, strengthening the reach and impact of both programs, and creating a powerful model for achieving meaningful reductions in food waste.”

“As a Public Benefit Corporation, Kickstarter is thrilled to support initiatives and creators that are working to address food waste here in NYC. We’re New Yorkers too, after all,” said Michael Stewart, Food Outreach Lead, Kickstarter, PBC.

“Reducing commercial food waste is essential for New York City to meet its zero waste goals and for a more sustainable and equitable food system,” said NYC Mayor’s Office Director of Food Policy Barbara Turk.  “I support this initiative to encourage businesses to waste less and donate more.”   


The Foundation for New York’s Strongest is the official nonprofit organization of the New York City Department of Sanitation. Supported by private funding and in-kind donations, the Foundation leverages non-traditional strategies to promote sustainability and advance the essential services Sanitation employees The Foundation’s core mission is to highlight the important contributions made by the DSNY workforce to keep New York City clean and safe every day; to support zero waste goals, and to celebrate and preserve DSNY’S rich culture and history. The inaugural event hosted by the Foundation, the NYC Food Waste Fair, brought together more than 1,000 attendees from the local business community, 75 food waste solution exhibitors, over 40 thought leaders and dozens of partner organizations to catalyze action in NYC.

NYC Food Waste Fair Dept of SanitationThe New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY) keeps New York City healthy, safe and clean by collecting, recycling and disposing of waste, cleaning streets and vacant lots, and clearing snow and ice. The Department operates 59 district garages and manages a fleet of more than 2,000 rear-loading collection trucks, 450 mechanical brooms and 689 salt/sand spreaders. The Department clears litter, snow and ice from approximately 6,500 miles of City streets and removes debris from vacant lots as well as abandoned vehicles from City streets.

The New York State Pollution Prevention Institute is a partnership between the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Rochester Institute of Technology and the university’s Golisano Institute for Sustainability, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the State University of New York at Buffalo and Clarkson University, with a statewide reach. NYSP2I also works with the state’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership to help disseminate data and strategy.

NYSP2I’s goal is to make the state more sustainable for workers, the public, the environment and the economy through pollution prevention. Pollution prevention is reducing or eliminating waste at the source by modifying production processes, promoting the use of non-toxic or less-toxic substances, implementing conservation techniques, and reusing materials rather than putting them into the waste stream. Go to http://www.rit.edu/affiliate/nysp2i/ to learn more about NYSP2I.