The NJDEP solid waste program underwent a subtle but meaningful rebranding in 2022. Formerly known as the Division of Solid and Hazardous Waste Management, it is now known as the Division of Sustainable Waste Management (DSWM) and is housed under the Assistant Commissioner for Air, Energy and Material Sustainability. A noticeable focus on sustainability will characterize the DSWMs 2023 priorities. Moreover, there is some synergy in the reorganization, given that the Air and Solid Waste programs are likely to be the most involved in the new Environmental Justice permitting process.
Speaking at the 21st Annual NJDEP-AWMA Regulatory Update Conference in November, the new Division Director, Janine MacGregor, noted the increased emphasis on sustainability as a consequence of new and pending legislation over the last few years and identified a variety of Division priorities in 2023, including:
- Recycled Content Law – Enacted at the beginning of 2022, this law imposed minimum recycled content requirements on certain manufacturers of containers and packaging products in an effort to create or expand the market for recyclables. The DSWM is currently developing regulations to implement this program.
- Food Waste Reduction and Recycling – There are two primary laws that the DSWM is charged with implementing:
- The Food Waste Reduction Law (enacted in 2017) which requires NJDEP to develop a plan to reduce food waste in New Jersey by 50 percent by 2030;
- The Large Generator Food Waste Recycling Law (enacted in 2020), which requires certain large generators of food waste to separate and recycle it.
DSWM is currently finalizing its Food Waste Reduction Plan and is planning to issue the Plan and proposed regulations on food waste recycling and food waste energy production and composting in early 2023.