In the United States 40% of food produced is thrown away, translating to over 63 million tons. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) estimates that 1.3 million tons of New Jersey surplus food ended up in landfills in 2017. Surplus food can include food scraps, such as bones or vegetable peels and tops, which can be used to create energy through anaerobic digestion or converted into carbon-rich compost. It can also include edible food that can be consumed by people, and therefore donated.
Wasted food prevention, donation, and recycling are becoming higher priorities for states and businesses across the United States. These initiatives can also serve as a valuable opportunity for businesses and institutions to further reduce its carbon footprint across waste streams. In New Jersey, these priorities have become integral to improving public health, equity, and climate action goals. For instance, effective October 2021, Bill A-2371 requires generators producing an average of 52 tons or more of pre-consumer food waste per year, located within 25 miles of an authorized organics processing facility, to source separate and recycle their food waste.