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June 2007

New Jersey DEP promotes strong recycling policies

New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner, Lisa Jackson spoke during ceremonies marking the 20th anniversary of the landmark law that made New Jersey the first state to make recycling mandatory.

Although recycling has become a greater challenge, there is no shortage of innovative thinking, according to Commissioner Jackson, who recognized the efforts of companies, individuals and institutions who are making a difference.

Among those recognized were Valerie Montecalvo of Bayshore Recycling Corp. for her work toward a recycling “mega-mall” in Woodbridge; the Steel Recycling Institute for the industry’s initiatives in reducing greenhouse gas emissions through recycling; and Rutgers University for its participation in Recyclemania, a friendly recycling competition among colleges and universities across the United States.

Commissioner Jackson also awarded a combined construction and operating permit to Converted Organics, which plans to build an in-vessel facility to process food waste into a soil amendment for farming. The facility, to be built at the Bayshore Recycling Corp. site, is the first of its kind in the nation.

“These efforts demonstrate recycling has many economic benefits,” Commissioner Jackson said. “But a steady decline in the amount of plastic, paper, glass and other materials the public recycles sends a clear signal that we must explore every legislative, regulatory and economic tool available to meet the challenge of boosting our recycling rates.”

The department’s Reinvigorating Recycling Work Group has recommended an action plan that includes development of a new “branded” recycling message; increased enforcement for achieving recycling goals; and development of legislative initiatives to, among other things, reduce packaging and increase recycling of electronics.

DEP’s Bureau of Recycling and Planning has also commissioned a survey of state residents to help state and local governments better understand what levels of convenience and other factors would boost public involvement in recycling.

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