Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


College of Science and Mathematics


Earth and Environmental Studies

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Robert Taylor

Committee Member

Greg Pope

Committee Member

Danlin Yu


The COVID-19 pandemic has been found to have numerous impacts on day-to-day life, everywhere around the globe. One important sector which is particularly being affected is the waste management sector. Reports from the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) showed possible variations in the source and volume of solid waste generated due to the enforcement of lockdown by the authorities to contain the coronavirus outbreak (Kulkarni & Anantharama, 2020). Food waste specifically is one of the most discussed topics in the world nowadays. About one-third of the food produced for humans ends up in the trash (Nusaka, 2020). It has become a critical issue. Studies demonstrated that the COVID-19 pandemic affected consumers’ food consumption and that it varies with elements such as the price of foodstuff, level of income, and so on (Aday & Aday, 2020). The study focuses on the impact of COVID-19 on the residential waste stream in Montclair, a suburban municipality located in the New York Metropolitan Region. Research questions investigated are: have residential food waste streams increased or decreased during COVID-19 pandemic, and whether household plastic waste generation has increased or decreased. Using a survey targeting Montclair residents, data was collected about their food and plastic waste generation. A secondary research pursuit was to study the impact of COVID-19 on Montclair restaurants’ generation of non-food waste, mostly plastic, into the household waste stream. The methodology used fo this pursuit was to investigate any increase in food deliveries during COVID-19, and an interview of the Vice-President of Operations of a restaurant in Montclair.

The results of the survey and the interview revealed that the quantity of food waste being generated in Montclair households remained the same during the pandemic. Food categories such as bread increased the most. Another finding was that residential non-food waste streams, mostly plastic, increased.

File Format