New Jersey DEP awards record grants

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is providing New Jersey’s municipalities and counties a record $14.5 million in grants to boost local recycling efforts, Department of Environmental Protection Acting Commissioner Mark N. Mauriello announced.

“These grants will be of great help to local governments that want to keep doing the right thing for the environment by maintaining strong recycling programs,” Commissioner Mauriello said. “Local governments will use this money to help pay recycling coordinators who quarterback these efforts, fund public education campaigns, and make sure residents continue to comply with recycling laws.”

The $14.5 million in recycling tonnage grants is nearly double the previous record of 2008, when $8 million was awarded as the result of the implementation of the Recycling Enhancement Act, signed into law by Governor Jon S. Corzine that year to help New Jersey reach its recycling-rate targets. This year’s total is also nearly three times higher than the pre-Recycling Enhancement Act high of $5.5 million awarded in 1995.

The Recycling Enhancement Act significantly increased the amount of grant money available to local governments by creating a recycling enhancement fund through a $3 per ton surcharge on trash taken to solid-waste disposal facilities.

Municipal governments, vital to the overall success of recycling, receive 60 percent of the money the fund generates to help them enhance outreach and compliance efforts. The balance is awarded to county solid-waste management and household hazardous-waste collection programs, county and state promotional efforts, and recycling research.

The individual grant awards for this year are based on the amount of materials municipalities and counties recycled in 2007, the year before the Recycling Enhancement Act took effect.

New Jersey recycled 3.8 million tons of 10.5 million tons of municipal solid waste generated in 2007, for a municipal solid waste recycling rate of 36.5 percent. Materials recycled as part of municipal programs includes paper, cardboard, glass, metal cans and plastic.