SJC BLOG

Urgent Development - NJ Legislation on Food Waste Recycling, Please Voice Your Concern!

Dear SJC Members:

We need your help.  As many of you know, we have been working to educate the Jersey City community about the many health, environmental, and economic benefits of food waste recycling. Moreover, the New Jersey Composting Council, one of our partner organizations, has been working diligently to support state-wide legislation that would benefit the food waste recycling industries in New Jersey. However, the New Jersey legislature is about to pass severely flawed legislation – Bill S1206 – that considers landfilling and incineration of food waste to be “recycling.” 

Please contact your Senator immediately and voice your concerns about this shortsighted bill ahead of a congressional vote scheduled to take place this Thursday, June 27th. You can find your elected representatives contact information here. For your convenience, below is a brief but informative commentary on the bill by our friends at the New Jersey Composting Council.

 

New Jersey’s Food Waste “Recycling” Bill S1206

New Jersey Composting Council

Currently working its way through our state legislature is Bill S2106, which claims to require the “recycling” of food waste by large food waste generators. In theory, this bill is based on similar legislation passed in Massachusetts, Connecticut and most recently by our neighbors across the Hudson in New York. These bills, generally speaking, have been very successful, with Massachusetts having generated $175 Million in economic activity in its first two years of implementation. Given these economic and environmental successes in an age of economic and environmental insecurity, it makes sense for New Jersey to pass similar legislation.

The New Jersey Composing Council has been actively advocating for such environmentally progressive legislation in New Jersey this past year. Unfortunately, the most recent version of Bill S1206 smuggles environmental benefits out the back door by treating landfills and incinerators as appropriate food waste “recycling” facilities – this notwithstanding the fact that incinerators and landfills alike pollute the atmosphere with noxious methane and carbon emissions and eliminate or contaminate scarce nutrients that should be returned to our soils in support of local, sustainable agricultural systems. 

Whatever the merit of landfills and incinerators, they do not “recycle” food waste. Moreover, our food waste has already been going to landfills and incinerators for years. Raising the question, what's the point of the bills as currently drafted?

If drafted properly, food waste recycling bills have the potential to support the development of organics recycling infrastructure, a critically important aspect of the sustained agricultural and economic health of our state. To address the massive food and organic waste challenges facing New Jersey, we must reduce overall food waste by donating our leftovers and recycling whatever is left back into our regenerative agricultural systems. The problem is, we don't currently have the infrastructure in place to recycle food waste at scale. Properly drafted food waste recycling bills should incentivize the movement of organics waste volume into true recycling facilities, not landfills and incinerators.

Organics recycling is a challenge, but also a tremendous opportunity. Both aerobically and anaerobically produced compost has numerous benefits, including the potential to sequester carbon from the atmosphere, rehabilitate soil against erosion and nutrient loss, protect against flooding, and generate meaningful jobs. As such, food waste recycling legislation is a positive step for any state – but only when used to implement true recycling systems, not just enshrine the status quo for the benefit of a few vested interests.

 New Jersey Composting Council

www.njcomposting.com

 For more information or questions about how you can help please contact us at: jairo@njcomposting.com

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Next Week's Events - Learn & Socialize With Us !

Dear Friends,

We have 2 great events we are hosting this coming week and wanted to invite you to BOTH !

Next Week's Events - Learn & Socialize With Us ! Mon Nite June 3rd & Wed Nite June 5th !!!

  1. Monday Nite 6:30pm at Hudson County Community College (HCCC), LEARN about Developers’ Perspectives on Buidling Green Infrastructure & Greener Buildings in Jersey City ! Understand their financial considerations and also learn about new mandates NJ State is going to put in place for municipalities to go green ! George Vallone Guest Speaker - Complete Session Details & George Vallone Bio here.

    • Location is HCCC Library Room # 237, just a short walk from the Journal Square PATH - Arrive early to meet others, let Security in Lobby know you will joining Sustainable JC Class Session upstairs !.

  2. Wednesday Nite 6-9pm, Green Drinks +ART @ LITM bar restaurant downtown - SOCIALIZE with like minded sustainability folks, drink a little, chat a little and enjoy the LITM June ART Show launching this weekend ! Located at 140 Newark Avenue, a short walk from the Grove Street PATH. First drinks on us while comps last :-) Here’s the event listing we posted earliier in May !

Sustainable JC is working hard to EDUCATE THE PUBLIC ABOUT QUALITY OF LIFE PRIORITIES for Jersey City, particularly Climate Change Planning Opportunities ! AND, in doing so, we are looking to build community and build an activist base that is interested to work with us on these issues. Please join us at these events if your schedules permits, and let’s talk about ways we can do neighborhood projects together !

Hope to see you at one or both of these events and feel free to invite others - all are welcome !

Warm regards,

Deb Italiano

Founder & Chair, SustainableJC.org

917-447-9839

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Important: Community Input Needed For MORE Green Infrastructure In Jersey City !

Community Input Needed For MORE Green Infrastructure In Jersey City !

Submitted by Deb Italiano, Founder & Chair, SustainableJC.org

Hello Folks !

I’m writing to you on behalf of SJC’s participation on the Jersey City Resiliency Planning Working Group (START) and as Partner in the Sewage Free Streets and Rivers Campaign, a statewide initiative spearheaded by NJ Future (we suggest you receive their newsletter updates !)

Right now, the Jersey City Municipal Utilities Authority (JC MUA) is in the last phase of a preliminary assessment of various options to remedy the stormwater management issues that we experience in Jersey City. As a CSO city, most of use are aware of the challenges of managing sewage overflows in Jersey City, which have polluted both our Hudson and Hackensack Rivers, and even exasperated our streets during storm events. The JCMUA has been doing a great job in replacing aging infrastructure, but is now needing to make some major decisions on how investments for the next 20-30 years are going to be spent to fix and prepare for future storm events that impact the JC sewer system - this is a big deal !.

SJC and our Partners, including the NJ Department of Environmental Protection (NJ DEP), are encouraging Green Infrastructure intervention strategies - more streetscape Trees, Green Roofs, Rain Gardens & Bioswales, Neighborhood Cisterns & Rain Barrels, Permeable Pavement (great for parking lots) - to capture and divert stormwater above ground before it enters the sewer system, preventing a huge amount of the overflow problem from becoming an overflow problem !

The obvious secondary benefit of more Green Infrastructure for Jersey City encompasses higher quality of life opportunities for residents and businesses, who will be primarily responsible for paying for the cost of sewer infrastructure upgrades (billions of dollars). Why not lower the cost of these infrastructure upgrades 30-50% like other cities are doing by using Green Infrastructure intervention strategies to prevent CSOs ahead of the turn ? Quick peak at the quality of life benefits available by taking a look at the JC OpenTreeMap which calculates the lower heat on city streets, energy use and better air quaility, etc.!

The JC MUA report, including community feedback about the options they will select thru this Long Term Control Plan Survey (LTCP Survey), is due to the NJ DEP by July 1st, 2019 !

Thanks so much and if I can answer any questions you might have about this issue or this outreach initiative, please feel free to reach me directly at debitaliano@gmail.com or 917-447-9839.

Warm regards,

Deb Italiano

Founder & Chair, SustainableJC.org / Green Infrastructure

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World Ocean’s Day is on June 8th Saturday! Starting in Jersey City - Register Now !

World Ocean’s Day is on June 8th Saturday! 

We are counting down the days for an unforgettable World Ocean’s Day celebration in Jersey City and NYC!  Event kicks off in Jersey City, downtown at 15 Exchange Place - Register Now !

This year we’ve partnered with some amazing brands and local shops to bring the best experience and we’re always looking for more to make this better! If you or others are interested to sponsor or donate to our work and these activites - please Contact Us! 

Our goal is to turn the Jersey City waterfront BLUE with all who are wearing blue t-shirts and walking along the waterfront! Our only request of you is to wear an ocean blue t-shirt. If you don’t have one we have them available for you to purchase upon registration through BeNatural.World

What is it?

3 Human Formations

2 Clean-ups

1 Amazing Walk around the Hudson - where you can join us for as short or as long as you want! 

Overview

While the majority of the activities will be taking place between Jersey City and Weehawken - the walk will continue much further towards the George Washington Bridge and return on the other side of the Hudson down to Battery Park. 

The walk is in collaboration with the FreeWalkers - please check their website for their empowering and inspiring mission to get Americans of all ages on their feet, remaining active for any or no reason at all, and keeping healthy and fit! Just keep on walking. This year they joined us to create a collaborative event as they walk along the Hudson River for 30 miles remembering and reminding us of our tie to the ocean, regardless of where we are. 

Did you know that 80% of all ocean pollution is land based? 

Start - To - End, Here’s What The Day Will Look Like -

As we start at 7:30am we will be doing a human formation at the Exchange Place waterfront - getting ourselves into a marine shape - and getting a photo with the Freedom Tower behind us - as we’re all going to be wearing BLUE t-shirts as a symbol of the Ocean. Both because we believe all creatures of the ocean deserve to be Free (as opposed to captive in pools) and also because we are blessed to have the FREEDOM to make our own choices for the impact we want to have on the world.

We’ll continue our walk to Hoboken - where at 9:30 we’ll be met by our friends at Trader Joe’s for refreshments and some cool drinks! No plastic please! 

At 10am we will have another Human Formation this time right by the Empire State Building. 

Did you know that the earth’s surface is 70% ocean? WE look like a blue marble from outerspace!

For those who would like to participate in a clean-up we will have a chance to take a shuttle to go to Liberty State Park to join a beach clean-up at Caven Point - right behind the Statue of Liberty. #wereallinthistogether Here we will be met by our friends of Liberty State Park as well as the Big Blue Ocean Clean-up crew who will be in town all the way from London. 

At the end of that cleanup there will be another human formation on the beach - between 12 - 12:30 with the statue of liberty and the skyline in the distance before we get back onto the shuttles and return to meet the walkers - if you wish. Otherwise a little bit of walking and a healthy cleanup - that could be the end of the events for you. 

Did you know that every second breath you take is enabled by the ocean? The ocean provides 50% of our oxygen.

As the walkers continue along the Hudson up to the George Washington Bridge - we will be gathering at the Riverside Park for another clean-up at 2:30pm. Feel Free to join us here and then continue the walk all the way down to the Freedom Tower/Brookfield Place. 

All we ask is to wear a BLUE t-shirt. Don’t have one? Don’t fret - you can get one after you Register for the event via Freewalkers and Eventbrite.

All proceeds go to help the Big Blue Ocean Clean-up effort organizing clean-ups all around the world. 

Did you know that there really is one ocean on our beautiful big blue? Even though we like to divide it up to names, it is all just one big connected body of water! #wereallinthistogether

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Taking a Stand on Climate Action, in Hudson County NJ

Taking a Stand on Climate Action, in Hudson County NJ

- submitted by Ashwani Vasishth, PhD, Founding Advisor, Sustainable Jersey City, and Associate Professor of Sustainability at Ramapo College of New Jersey

The very first Hudson County Climate Town Hall (HCCTH), held on April 17, 2019 in the Jersey City Council Chambers, showed clearly and unequivocally that residents of Hudson County both care about and are ready to act upon the looming existential threat of Climate Change.

As Michael Watson and Noah Levinson, of The Climate Mobilization (Hoboken Chapter), put it 

“If there was one takeaway from the evening, it’s that in Hudson County, the threat of climate change is not an abstraction, nor the pet concern of an informed few, but a major political issue capable of mobilizing citizens from all corners of the community.”

Hosted by the Jersey City Environmental Commission, and jointly presented by The Climate Mobilization (Hoboken Chapter), Food & Water Watch, the Hudson County Sierra Club and Sustainable JC, the Town Hall was opened by Mayor Ravi Bhalla, Hoboken, and Mayor Steven Fulop, Jersey City--both pleasantly taken aback by the extent to which the issue of Climate Change clearly had traction with their constituents.

This was followed by a panel of speakers, with Dr. Philip Orton, Professor of Ocean Engineering at the Stevens Institute of Technology presenting on the history and likely future trends in storm surges as they would impact Hudson County.  His message was clear and direct--act now or stand by and watch unacceptable portions of our region be rendered uninhabitable by seasonal and regular monthly flooding.

Then, Kim Gaddy of Clean Water Action of New Jersey spoke about the environmental justice implications of climate change as these impacts would truly have a devastating effect on our region, hurting children and the more vulnerable populations in our midst.

But leading us to understand the true extent and reach of climate justice issues was 16-year-old Ananya Singh of the Sunrise Movement, who showed, clearly and unflinchingly, that our rising generation of citizens was ready, willing and able to take on the tough issues we, collectively, had so long shied away from.  Ananya did not mince words as she exhorted us all to take on the true culprits in this horrid nightmare odyssey upon which humanity has been embarked this past century--the lobbying power of the fossil fuel industry.

Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. closed the panel as he firmly laid down the markers of the path Hudson County, New Jersey and, indeed, our nation must tread, if we are to rise ascendant from the current challenges of the very serious climate challenges looming over us.  Tellingly, Tittel evoked President Franklin Roosevelt--”I agree with you, I want to do it, now make me do it”--suggesting that it was our job to “make politicians do it.”

Sustainable JC supports Mayor Fulop and City Council as they conduct an Emissions Audit and a Carbon Footprint Report, which will help develop an effective plan to reduce emissions within Jersey City - we look forward to that Report being released this June.  We are also very supportive of Mayor Fulop’s participation in the “Mayors for Climate” Coalition, the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy, and his consideration to join the Sierra Club’s READY FOR 100 Campaign toward setting goals for 100% Renewable Energy, and the encouraging tone City Hall has toward green business practices with the launch of a JC Green Business Certification program targeting local small businesses.

But at the same time, Sustainable JC urges the City to partner again with local and regional NGOs to create forum opportunities to do public participation Climate Change Action Planning, to not only set specific emission reduction goals for the short and mid-term with specific target dates for each set of goals, but to ideate for the Green New Deal and steps JC can take to be a municipal leader in NJ on this very important issue.

In order for Jersey City to take its place amongst municipal leadership in the state and across the country, we need to target and begin to implement specific actions  For example, It is  the case that significant commercial building sector energy efficiency upgrades are needed before we can commit to a portfolio of renewable energy choices for Jersey City - we should start to develop an outreach and incentives program for the commercial building sector right away to engage building owners on the path toward lowering their building emissions and upgrading their properties for energy efficiency cost savings opportunities.

At the Statewide level, Sustainable JC joins New Jersey Sierra Club, along with Food & Water Watch, Clean Water Action NJ, Empower NJ, Bluewave NJ, and The Climate Mobilization in advocating for an immediate statewide moratorium on all new fossil fuel infrastructure projects.  Citizens who wish to support this proposed moratorium can join the “Moratorium Mondays” campaign, spearheaded by Empower NJ, a coalition of 72 environmental and civic organizations.  Every Monday, constituents call Governor Murphy’s office to demand that no more fossil fuel infrastructure projects be built in the state until greenhouse gasses are classified as a pollutant, and regulated as such. 

Unfortunately, as our NGO comrades shared at the HCCTH, Governor Murphy faces proposals for 13 new fossil fuel projects in NJ—eight pipelines and five power plants—and has given no indication that his Department of Environmental Protection will block any of them, in spite of his executive order to transition New Jersey to 100 percent clean energy by 2050.  Please consider getting more involved in the Monday Moratorium on Fossil Fuels initiative - learn more here.

Thanks for participating and see you again at the follow-up Climate Town Hall event being planned for early June - event details coming soon !

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