The best way to reduce food waste is to practice thoughtful and creative strategies to consume all of the food that you purchase. If at the end of the day, you’ve got remaining food scraps like banana peels or coffee grounds or food that you just couldn’t get to before spoiling—you can recycle your food scraps to create compost!
Composting is the controlled management of the decomposition of organic material so that it becomes a nutrient-rich soil amendment that helps plants thrive.
Benefits of Composting:
Jersey City launched its first-ever composting efforts in 2018 with a Residential Compost Drop-Off Program and a Backyard Composting Program. Check out how many pounds of food scraps have been collected so far. Find out more about each program below.
Jersey City residents have the option to drop off their food waste daily (except as noted below) at multiple locations within the City.
Find a map of all drop-off locations HERE.
Composting Drop-off Locations, as of June 3, 2021:
The City of Jersey City and the Division of Recycling’s are offering JC’s first-ever bicycle powered food scraps collection from August 2021 through the end of the year. This pilot will be available for Jersey City residents who have registered for residential pickup. ? ? ?
For residents interested in composting in their own backyards, the City offers discounted materials and free workshops. Residents who participate are able to create valuable compost for their gardens and help divert thousands of pounds of organic waste from landfills!
Materials are limited. Sign up here for more information: http://bit.ly/JerseyCityBackyardComposting
Want to know more about residential composting in Jersey City?
To compost in your backyard, you only need a few materials to get started. A compost bin, a container to collect your food scraps in the kitchen, and a tool to circulate the air in the compost pile.
Greens: (Nitrogen rich materials)
Fruits and vegetables, coffee grounds, egg shells, tea bags, grass clippings
Browns: (Carbon rich materials)
Shredded newspaper, paper napkins, coffee filters, dried brown leaves, cardboard- cut into smaller pieces
X Food cooked in oil or grease, pet waste, animal products (cheese, milk, meat, fish, bones), barbeque ashes
X Anything with toxic pesticides or herbicides
X All plastics, including “compostable” plastics
X Coffee cups, metal, waxed cardboard
X Edible food! – You should always make an effort to eat food before sending it to the compost. Need ideas for innovative recipes and storage tips to help you consume all the food in your fridge? Check out savethefood.com for helpful tips and pointers
Vermiculture or vermicomposting is a type of composting system that uses a special type of worm and “bedding” to decompose your food waste. This requires the purchase of special worms, usually Red Wigglers (Eisenia foetida) or Red Earthworms (Lumbricus rubellus) (not the ones in your backyard) and an enclosed but aerated container. Their worm poop, referred to as “vermi-compost”, or worm castings dramatically improve the health of the soil, as the worms convert nutrients into a more available food form for plants. Food scraps and yard clippings make great food for the worms. Keep out all greasy and oily foods, meat and dairy. Their bedding needs to have a neutral PH, be free from anything sharp or abrasive, retain moisture and allow for the flow of oxygen. The worms love bedding material made from shredded newspaper, dried leaves, and straw. Bedding is kept damp but not soggy. Vermicomposting can be done indoors or outdoors.
Bokashi is an indoor method of making compost through fermentation. This type of composting relies on anaerobic processing which requires the purchase of a bran that has been inoculated with beneficial microbes. Enclosed air tight containers are used create the anaerobic environment, and the leachate needs to be drawn off. Meat and dairy may be included in the scraps added.
Visit the Sustainable JC Website for more information about upcoming Bokashi workshops.
Electric Composters/Food Recyclers use electricity to dehydrate and process food waste so that it can be used as a soil amendment. Food waste is dropped into the machine heated, mixed, and aerated. Some models also use enzymes to speed up the decomposition process. It can take anywhere from a few hours to several days or weeks to make the finished fertilizer, depending on the type of model you use. This process is not the same as traditional composting and the finished product is not referred to as compost but rather as a “soil amendment” or “fertilizer”.