TRENTON- Legislation to address food waste reduction in New Jersey by 50 percent in the coming years sponsored by Senator Linda Greenstein and Bob Smith was signed into law today by the Governor.
The new law, S-3027 aims to reduce the amount of food waste generated in the state by 50 percentby 2030. The law requires the Department of Environmental Protection in consultation with the Department of Agriculture to develop and commence implementation of a plan to accomplish this goal within a year.
The United States wastes a large amount of food every year with as much as 40 percent of the food in the U.S. going uneaten. This accounts for 160 billion pounds of food wasted each year. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture these statistics are made even worse considering that 42.2 million Americans live in food insecure households. Apart from the human cost, reducing food waste is beneficial for the environment, reducing water, fertilizer, and oil use, and greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. Food waste in the United States produces the annual equivalent greenhouse gas emissions of 33 million passenger vehicles.
“Our goal of creating a sustainable future for our residents must be closely focused on reducing hunger in New Jersey and working to curb climate change by moving towards a responsible production and consumption model,” said Senator Bob Smith (D-Middlesex, Somerset), Chairman of the Senate Environment and Energy Committee. “Wasting food does not make economic or environmental sense. In the United States, millions of tons of food that are still fit for consumption are wasted and dumped. It is incumbent upon us to take action. As a State, we need to reduce food waste. Together, we can reverse this unacceptable trend, and have a healthier New Jersey and create a sustainable future for our residents.”
“This law is an intelligent alternative to improve our environment and reduce hunger in our State,” said Senator Linda Greenstein (D-Mercer and Middlesex). “We have a problem with waste in this country, and recycling solid waste is a viable solution that will produce energy for our homes, schools and businesses. The reduction in food waste not only solves the problem of hunger we have in the State, but it is also a step on the right direction to reduce damage to our environment. We need food conservation and taking care of our environment to be our children’s natural instinct, not an afterthought.”
The bill was approved by the Senate in May and by the Assembly in June.