New Jersey bill aims to generate energy from food waste

By Erin Voegele | October 19, 2016

A bill in New Jersey that would require large food waste generators to separate and recycle food waste and amends the definition of Class I renewable energy took a step forward on Oct. 13 when it was approved by the Senate Environmental and Energy Committee.

According to information released by the New Jersey legislature, starting Jan. 1, 2019 the bill, S.771, would require every large food waste generator located within 25 miles of an authorized food waste recycling facility that generates an average projected volume of 104 or more tons per year of food waste to separate that food waste and send it to an authorized food waste recycling facility that has available capacity and will accept it. Beginning Jan. 1, 2022, good waste generators that produce an average projected volume of 52 or more tons of food waste per year would also have to comply with these requirements.

If these food waste generators are not located within 25 miles of an authorized food waste recycling facility, or if that facility will not accept the generator’s waste, the generator is allowed to dispose of the food waste at a solid waste management facility. The legislation also explains that food waste generators would also be considered to be in compliance with the legislation if they perform enclosed, on-site compositing, anaerobic digestion or aerobic digestion. Compliance could also be achieved if the food waste generator recycles the food waste using an alternative authorized food waste recycling method, or if the generator, as of Dec. 31, 2016, sends its food waste for final disposal at a sanitary landfill facility that primarily accepts municipal solid waste and delivers gas to one or more landfill gas-to-energy facilities that generate electricity.

The legislation also amends the state’s definition of Class I renewable energy to include electricity produced from methane gas from a composting, anaerobic or aerobic digestion facility that converts food waste or other organic waste to energy.

The bill was first introduced on Jan. 12. Following its passage by the Senate Environmental and Energy Committee, it was referred to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.

Additional information on S 771 can be downloaded from the New Jersey legislature website.