New law expands definition of Class I renewables in New Jersey

By Erin Voegele | April 17, 2020

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed a bill on April 14 that requires certain parties within the state to separate and recycle food waste. The legislation also expands the definition of Class I renewables to include electricity generated from methane produced through food waste processing.

The bill, A2371, was introduced in the New Jersey Assembly on Jan. 27. A companion bill, S865, was introduced in the New Jersey Senate on Jan. 14. Assembly members voted 49 to 28 to pass the bill on Feb. 24. The New Jersey Senate passed the bill on March 5 by a vote of 21 to 18.

The bill requires certain large food waste generators to source separate food waste from other solid waste and send that material to an authorized food waste recycling facility that has available capacity and will accept it. The requirement would pertain to food waste generators that produced 52 tons or more of food waste annually and are within 25 road miles of an authorized food waste recycling facility. These large food waste generators would also be able to perform enclosed on-site composting or anaerobic or aerobic digestion of source separated food waste or recycle food waste using alternative authorized food waste recycle methods. Large food waste generators would be able to petition the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection for a waiver of the recycling requirement if the cost of transporting the food waste plus the fee charged by an authorized food waste recycling facility is at least 10 percent more than the cost disposing the material using a properly licensed transfer station, sanitary landfill, incinerator or resource recovery facility also located within 25 miles of the large food waste generator.

The bill would also amend New Jersey’s definition of Class I renewable energy to include electricity produced from methane gas from a composting facility, an anaerobic digestion facility or an aerobic digestion facility that converts food waste or other organic waste to energy.

Additional information on the bill is available on the New Jersey Legislature website.