Governor Phil Murphy

Governor Murphy Strengthens Food Waste Recycling Legislation to Reduce Greenhouse Gases and Protect Environmental Justice Communities

08/23/2019

TRENTON – Governor Phil Murphy today conditionally vetoed A3726, which would require large food waste generators to separate and recycle food waste and amend the definition of “Class I renewable energy.” Governor Murphy returned the bill to the Legislature with recommendations to remove the exemptions that allow food waste to be sent for final disposal to incinerators and sanitary landfills. 

“I am concerned that these two exemptions will disproportionately impact environmental justice communities that are already overburdened by waste facilities, especially incinerators which emit significant amounts of greenhouse gases contributing to global warming,” said Governor Murphy. “My recommended changes will ensure that more food waste is properly recycled and will also protect disadvantaged communities, which are disproportionately located near landfills and incinerators, from the harmful environmental effects of food waste that is improperly disposed. I will continue to work with my partners in the Legislature to battle the food waste epidemic in a manner that is fair to the communities most affected by food waste.”

“This legislation will send less food waste to our landfills, and instead send it off to be converted into energy,” said Senator Smith. “As we work to expand our use of sustainable energy this legislation will be crucial in moving us towards a greener, more environmentally conscious energy grid.”

"This is an important victory for climate justice and recycling. Commonsense alone dictates that burying and burning food waste is an inferior option and not the same as recycling and composting,” said Amy Goldsmith, New Jersey State Director of Clean Water Action. “The Governor's conditional veto of A3726, supported by its sponsors, clarifies this and legislative intent to get food waste out of the solid waste stream and put it into productive reuse. The conditional veto also offers greater protections for environmental justice communities, like Newark, who already bear the unequal burden of being exposed to deadly and climate changing air pollution from its nearby incinerator."

"Burying and burning food waste is not a sustainable solution,” said Doug O’Malley, Director of Environment New Jersey. “Incinerators have been a blight on our urban communities and Governor Murphy's conditional veto ensures these communities will not be hurt by more air pollution. Haste can make waste, and we thank Governor Murphy for removing these harmful provisions from the legislation."

“We want to thank the governor for taking a step to protect frontline communities in New Jersey,” said Maria Lopez, Director of Environmental Justice, Ironbound Community Corporation. “This veto helps protect the public’s health from the pollution created from garbage incineration specifically from burning food waste. Our communities are already overburdened and deserve a zero waste future.”

“We are happy to see the Governor and the bill sponsors work together strengthen this bill and to address the concerns of environmental justice communities who disproportionately bare the burden of pollution,” said Ed Potosnak, Executive Director, New Jersey League of Conservation Voters.

A copy of the Governor’s conditional veto may be found here.