CLIMATE ACADEMY: Sustainable Organic Waste Management

According to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, for New Jersey to meet its goal of reducing emissions of climate pollutants to 80% below 2006 levels by 2050, it is critical to address emissions from the agricultural and waste sectors. These sectors alone contribute 5% of greenhouse gas emissions but can be cut down by reducing and recovering organic waste (e.g., food waste, animal manure, and yard waste). Join Gary Sondermeyer, chair of the NJ Climate Change Alliance’s Organics Workgroup, and NJCCRC Climate Corps members Tracy Youngster, Abigail Brown, and Anna Heckler, as they discuss current organic material management practices and how we can work to increase food security and reduce organic waste here in New Jersey.

Gary Sondermeyer is VP of Operations for Bayshore Recycling of Woodbridge, NJ. Bayshore is one of NJ’s largest recyclers, managing 9 separate recycling operations on its 58-acre campus. Gary also serves as Chair of the Board of the Sustainable Jersey Program and Co-Chair of the NJ Climate Change Alliance, and helps lead the Legislative Committee of the Association of New Jersey Recyclers. Gary joined Bayshore following 30 years of service at the NJ Department of Environmental Protection. He served as the agency’s Chief of Staff for 10 years under six New Jersey governors. Gary has undergraduate and Masters’ Degrees in Environmental Planning from Rutgers University.

Abigail Brown is a first-year graduate student in the Masters in Public Policy program at Rutgers University’s Bloustein School concentrating in Environmental Policy. Before coming to Bloustein, Abigail worked as an environmental engineering consultant at Langan Engineering & Environmental Services, Inc. Her work mainly consisted of conducting field investigations and report writing.

Anna Heckler is a first-year graduate student in the Masters in Public Policy program at Rutgers University’s Bloustein School. Prior to Bloustein, Anna worked as a research associate with Mathematica, where she supported project coordination, data analysis, and report writing.

Tracy Youngster is a Ph.D. student in the Ecology and Evolution Program at Rutgers New Brunswick. Tracy is interested in studying the soil microbial communities of different coastal plant species. As a Coastal Climate Risk and Resilience trainee, she is designing a project to evaluate how these plant-microbe interactions affect soil characteristics in coastal areas.

This work was produced in partnership with the New Jersey State Policy Lab, which is funded by the New Jersey State Office of the Secretary of Higher Education.