Home Travel Recycling’s Next Frontier: Inside New Jersey’s Only Commercial-Scale Composter

Recycling’s Next Frontier: Inside New Jersey’s Only Commercial-Scale Composter


You would expect the most densely populated U.S. state—called the Garden State for its rich farming history—would boast a multitude of facilities that leverage its enormous volume of food waste for composting. You would be wrong. 

In the far reaches of Sussex County, New Jersey’s sole commercial-scale, open-air organics composter has, since 2005, been quietly converting table scraps from supermarkets and food-distribution centers all over the region. 

To date, Ag Choice in Andover has transformed nearly 6.48 million cubic feet of organic waste into usable topsoil for garden centers, athletic fields and some of the state’s remaining farms. For co-owner Jay Fischer, aiding a life cycle as old as time is just good business. 

Ag Choice is the only large-scale, open-air organics composter in New Jersey. Photo by Christopher Lane

“The amount of waste going into landfills is staggering. If you can collect some of it and take advantage of the natural decomposition process, you’ll have a reusable product we really need,” Fischer says on a rare break from overseeing the company’s cavernous 15-acre intake facility. 

Staggering is an understatement. 

More than 9 million tons of garbage are deposited in New…

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