Jersey City, New Jersey, has launched a citywide initiative to divert unused food from local businesses in an effort to decrease food waste and reduce residents’ food insecurity.
The initiative is a joint effort between the city’s Department of Public Works and the Department of Health and Human Services. The departments will receive technical assistance and grant support from the Natural Resources Defense Council, and will work with the consultancy Center for EcoTechnology to map the city’s organizations involved in food rescue.
“These types of innovative partnerships highlight Jersey City’s ability to use dignity as a driving force for dealing with challenges that emerge from food insecurity and historically marginalized communities,” said Mayor Steven M. Fulop. “Additionally, we are once again serving as the optimal urban incubator for piloting these types of innovative approaches and sharing the lessons learned with other cities and towns to help improve their own communities.”
Mapping this network is expected to provide a better understanding of who is involved in food rescue in order to determine how resources could best be redistributed. The initiative also aims to educate businesses on how to minimize waste, while also decreasing their costs related to refrigeration, water, storage, and waste removal.
“In Jersey City, we believe that every resident plays a valuable role in the local and global environment. We strive to empower residents with the resources needed to reduce their environmental impact through the ease of access to food waste receptacles,” added Sonia Marte-Dublin, Director of the Division of Recycling. “The diversion and repurposing of food waste is critical to reducing greenhouse gasses, which are released from rotting food and ultimately contribute to the effects of climate change. By increasing accessibility to composting, we are making significant strides in community sustainability by encouraging participation by people of all walks of life.