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Van Bramer Passes Bill That Aims to Reduce Food Waste at Public Schools

Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer sponsored legislation that passed the City Council Wednesday that aims to reduce food waste at public schools (NYC Council Jeff Reed)

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.”

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Just another Queens dweller

What about all those veggies and other healthy foods children choose to throw in the garbage can? Few people reading this ever worked in a school and it’s a school-wide reality. If NYCDOE is in charge of this then it’s a waste of time. These parents spoil their children with no discipline and they just want food that makes them fat. Children wasting food is the biggest waste of money and food in schools and if this waste isn’t recognized then this effort is a joke.


Interesting JVB, but after being in Office for nearly 12 years, now you come up with this??


If they served better tasting and nutritious food and not serve lunch at like 10 am to some students students would eat most meals and there would less waste. They also need to serve better vegan and halal meals.

just another Queens dweller

They’ll just throw it all in the garbage. If they served Doritos, Hostoss, and Hershey’s, then there wouldn’t be and food waste. You get that one kid that eats healthy food and that’s rare. All you have to do is to take a look in any school cafeteria garbage can just before the kids leave the cafeteria. Ask the staff that works in the kitchen. Someone from there is usually in charge of taking those garbage bags out of the garbage cans in the school cafeteria.

just another Queens dweller

There wouldn’t be any food waste not “be and food waste”. Sorry. Keyboards can be so annoying.

Just Wondering

This has been proposed in the past by individuals and non-profits.
Why have JVB and the City Council waited so long?

Just Wondering

This has been requested for years by individuals and non-profits. What took JVB and the City Council so long.


not sure how this will work, but its always a good idea not to waste food. i do my part and my best at home to never waste anything. at best, i freeze whatever produce i can so its not wasted. i am not sure how this project will work in schools, as many meals come from cans.


If you want to stop the waste, serve kids food that they actually will eat. Stop trying to force the “healthiest “ choices on the kids. There is no nutritional value in food that goes straight from serving trays to trash cans. They are better off with cold cereal for breakfast, and pizza or burgers for lunch than salmon that usually gets thrown out.


It’s a good cause, but somehow feels like another photo-op by Jimmy “No jobs” Van Bramer.


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