CONTACT: Sebastian D’Elia, 908-527-4419
Tina Casey, 908-527-4346




Elizabeth, NJ – Those scraps from your table could get a new life in the garden, as nutrient-rich compost.  Backyard food composting is an easy way for home owners to cut down on chemical fertilizers, and there are new opportunities for Union County businesses and institutions to save money by recycling food waste into compost, too.

“Recycling provides a way to manage waste more efficiently, and to extract value from it,” said Alfred Faella, Director of the Union County Department of Parks and Community Renewal.  “Food scraps can be recovered and put to good use, just like aluminum cans, paper, and many other recyclable materials.”

Backyard composting is cheap and easy to do, even in small spaces.  By composting food waste, home gardeners can add valuable nutrients to their soil and reduce the use of chemical fertilizers.  A backyard compost pile also provides a convenient supply of extra soil on hand, cutting down on trips to the store.

Schools around Union County are beginning to discover the benefits of backyard composting, especially those that have teaching gardens on their grounds.  Food waste from the school’s cafeteria provides a free soil booster for the garden, and it gives students a hands-on recycling experience.

For businesses and institutions that generate high volumes of food waste, recycling can save money on disposal costs.  Food waste generally contains a large volume of water, which makes it very heavy and adds to the cost of disposing it in landfills or incinerators.

Restaurants, hospitals and grocery stores are just a few kinds of large volume food waste generators in Union County that could reduce their disposal costs by composting food waste on site, or sending it to a commercial composting facility.

“With the recent opening of a new commercial food waste composter nearby in Woodbridge, Union County businesses and institutions are in an excellent position to benefit from food waste recycling,” Faella noted.

The Union County Recycling Office is working with the Rutgers University Solid Waste Resource Renewal Group (SWRRG) to help large scale food generators get started on food waste recycling.  For more information, contact SWRRG at 732-932-9155, ext. 233.

For free, expert advice on backyard composting, residents can contact the Union County Master Gardeners at 908-654-9852.  Email questions are also welcome at