Christie administration awards $18.6 million in grants
New Jersey’s municipalities and counties will receive more than $18.6 million in state recycling grants to help implement and enhance local recycling efforts, Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bob Martin announced.
The funds, based on 2011 recycling data, include $13.1 million in recycling tonnage grants for cities and towns and $5.5 million allocated to counties. The grants are being awarded through the state’s Recycling Enhancement Act.
The recycling grant program is funded by a $3 per ton surcharge on trash disposed of at solid waste facilities across the state. Distribution of grants this year is based on the recycling successes local governments demonstrated in 2011.
In 2011, New Jersey generated more than 9.9 million tons of municipal solid waste (MSW), more commonly known as trash or garbage that is generated from homes, schools, hospitals and businesses. The DEP’s Bureau of Recycling and Planning documented the recycling of more than 3.9 million tons of material, leading New Jersey to a MSW recycling rate of 40 percent for the second consecutive year. Prior to that, the last time the state reached that benchmark rate was 1998.
The national MSW recycling rate in 2011, by comparison, was 34.7 percent, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Municipal governments, vital to the overall success of recycling, receive 60 percent of the money the fund generates to help them finance enhanced recycling 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.
Several New Jersey municipalities have been leaders in recycling, offering exemplary programs that make recycling convenient for residents and get positive results. Some examples in 2011 include:
- Ridgewood, in Bergen County, had a municipal solid waste recycling rate of 77 percent in 2011, and a total recycling rate – including larger commercial, demolition, industrial waste – of 78 percent.
- Monroe, in Middlesex County, had a MSW rate of 59 percent and a total recycling rate of 72 percent.
- Randolph, in Morris County, achieved a 68 percent MSW recycling rate and a 73 percent total recycling rate.
- Cherry Hill, in Camden County, achieved a 49 percent a MSW recycling rate and a 63 percent total recycling rate.
- Manchester, in Ocean County, recorded an 83 percent total recycling rate to go with a 42 percent MSW recycling rate.
- Ocean Township, in Monmouth County, recorded an MSW recycling rate of 49 percent and a total recycling rate of 63 percent.
New Jersey became the first state to require statewide recycling in 1987 with passage of the Statewide Mandatory Source Separation and Recycling Act. Municipal solid waste, collected from households and small commercial establishments, includes paper, corrugated paper, glass, metal containers and plastics.
While the municipal/household solid waste recycling rate was 40 percent, total recycling of all forms of waste – including items such as construction debris and vegetative waste – in New Jersey was 59.7 percent in 2011. More than 12.6 million tons of the 21.1 million tons of solid waste generated in 2011 was recycled.