As New Jersey rethinks food waste policy, role of landfills a key question

Interest around tackling food waste is on the rise in New Jersey, more so than it has been in years, yet the state’s path toward progress is still uncertain.

Inspired by ongoing action throughout the Northeast, and intrigued by the environmental and economic opportunities, many see a chance to make meaningful progress. Yet a state plan on how to potentially do this is months overdue, and legislation that would establish a commercial diversion mandate still hasn’t passed after years of attempts.

In the meantime, options for managing any material that can’t be prevented or recovered for rescue upstream are limited. A 2006 BioCycle article once described New Jersey as a state that “seemed poised for a revolution in food residuals recycling,” but that transition never came to pass and the list of failed projects is long. Today, the state only has one commercial composting operation, Ag Choice, operating at full scale.