Governor Murphy has conditionally vetoed Assembly Bill No. 3726 which would have required certain large food waste generating facilities to recycle their food waste. A facility must generate 52 tons of food waste annually to be subject to the legislation.
The bill contained several exceptions to this requirement, including allowing food waste to be sent to solid waste incinerators for four more years. Thereafter, facilities would need to install anaerobic digesters in order to accept the waste. An exemption was also made for landfills that had a pre-existing gas to energy facility. The Governor’s conditional veto removed these two exemptions.
It is unlikely that the Legislature will concur with the Governor’s conditional veto or override it, meaning that if a food waste recycling mandate is to become law, a new bill will likely be introduced. It is unclear if the legislative sponsors will attempt to do this in the upcoming lame duck session of the Legislature or if they will wait for the new legislative session to begin in January 2020. Despite the rush to pass this bill last June, similar versions of this legislation have been pending for the last five years without significant action.
NJBIA has concerns with provisions of this legislation unrelated to the Governor’s action. We are concerned that the definition of a “large food waste generator” only applies to a stand-alone facility, not multiple facilities under a common ownership or control. We also want to ensure that food waste recycling mandates are cost neutral. Currently, the bill would allow for waivers of the requirement only if the costs exceed 10%. NJBIA believes this provision would drive up the cost of recycling.
NJBIA will continue to work with our sister organizations to ensure that any legislation is fair, cost neutral, and reflects an effective and balanced policy.