Matthew A. Karmel is an environmental lawyer at Riker Danzig in Morristown, New Jersey. He advises clients on sustainability, waste management, and renewable energy, as well as traditional environmental compliance and litigation. He was recently recognized on the Waste360 40 under 40 list for his contributions to food-waste recycling, composting, and environmental justice.
A few years ago, I started providing pro bono legal assistance to a nonprofit in New Jersey that was helping community gardens expand their composting operations without prohibitively expensive permits. In order to change state regulations, I tapped my network to arrange meetings with local residents and elected officials who could provide support. I picked my way through complicated and overlapping statutes governing waste management, and got a crash course in advocating for environmental policy. I developed strong relationships with government regulators, industry professionals, and journalists. Even though I wasn’t paid for my efforts, I felt happier and more satisfied with my work than ever, and it led to more professional success.
I put a lot of effort into fi... Read more